Stephenville council still has concerns about college jobs going elsewhere

Published on July 16, 2017

Concerns about jobs at College of the North Atlantic Headquarters in Stephenville, seen here, going elsewhere are being expressed by Mayor Tom O’Brien of the Stephenville town council.

©Frank Gale/The Western Star

Mayor Tom O’Brien is once again stating concerns that not only are College of the North Atlantic Headquarters management positions being located elsewhere, but but he believes faculty is now being reduced.

He voiced the same type of concerns about management positions were in March. At that time Bob Gardiner, interim president, said there was no need for the concern as both the college and the government were committed to the headquarters in Stephenville.

O’Brien said every few days he and Mike Campbell, town manager, look in the newspapers for jobs advertised for the college and he said it always raises a red flag when a job that should be at college headquarters states “location to the determined.”

He said when town officials enquire about the jobs, the standard response is that it’s hard to get people to move to Stephenville.

O’Brien said he doesn’t believe that because the town recently advertised for a town clerk and had 79 applications for the position, including from people from across the province and country who were willing to live in the town.

“Not being able to move to Stephenville is hogwash,” he said. “Let’s ask them to come in and tell us why these jobs are going elsewhere.”

O’Brien said with council’s blessing he would send off a letter to Elizabeth Kidd, acting college president, and Gerry Byrne, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour to request a meeting and state that they’d like to also have a representative of the college board of governors on hand.

Those on council who were not in a conflict of interest approved the sending of the letter.

When asked which positions he was concerned about, O’Brien said the most recent was a Director of Programming for Health Science and another before that was a director of Information Technology.

Back in March, Bob Gardiner, who was interim president for the college at the time, said the Director of Information Technology was a position that was vacant for close to three years and advertised on several occasions.

He said after being unable to fill, the college felt it was time to advertise the position for St. John’s as operationally the college cannot function efficiently without a Director of Information Technology.

In an email, Kidd said she would be happy to meet with the Stephenville town council once she receives its invitation.

While Byrne was not available for comment before deadline, a representative of his department said on his behalf that if he receives an invitation he would gladly attend a meeting to discuss the subject.