'Anne' position not renewed

Teresa Wright
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Anne Partnership committee decides former Liberal MLA completed duties

The Anne Partnership decided not to renew Cynthia King as executive director.

A defeated Liberal MLA who was accused of having been handed a patronage job promoting Anne of Green Gables is no longer being paid by Island taxpayers.

That’s because Cynthia King, who was called Cynthia Dunsford when she was a sitting MLA, did not get her one-year, $60,000 contract renewed.

The Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. (TIAPEI) facilitated King’s provincially funded position with Forever Anne, which is now called the Anne Partnership.

TIAPEI executive director Don Cudmore said Monday the decision not to renew King as executive director of the Anne Partnership was made by the committee that runs the organization.

“I was prepared to go to the province and see if there was any more funding available, but the committee decided that (King) completed everything they wanted her to do,” Cudmore said in an interview.

“Once those things were done, they felt they were ready to take it on as a committee themselves and that at this time they didn’t need a staffer.”

He added he believed there was ‘opportunity for funding’ to renew King’s contract, but it had not yet been officially approved.

But The Guardian has learned the $60,000 salary was indeed re-offered to the committee in November for another year, initially with no strings attached.

Members of the Anne Partnership committee were pleased, especially given the controversy that erupted last year after news that King had been given the job. Many saw it as a patronage appointment, as it had previously been a volunteer position, but last year received funding from the province through TIAPEI.

It was also never advertised.

The Opposition Tories called it a ‘soft landing’ for King, who lost her seat in the 2011 election to James Aylward.

This year, the Anne Partnership committee wanted to post the position and go through an open selection process, to clear the air and move forward free of controversy, sources have told The Guardian.

But after concerns were raised that King would not be kept on, a senior official within the Ghiz administration informed the committee it had to keep King or lose the funding, according to two independent sources involved with the organization.

The committee said no to these terms and chose instead to refuse the funding.

An official with the premier’s office did not comment directly on these details, but would only say they were “informed the position was not being continued.”

Cudmore stressed the committee was very complimentary of King’s work, but that it simply did not need this position for another year.

“You don’t want to take money just for taking money,” he said.

“Government dollars are hard to come by these days and they knew they’d be coming back a little further down the road and requesting funding for some of their project development initiatives. So they didn’t want to use them up with anything else.”

The Guardian attempted to contact the committee chair for Anne Partnership and King for comment on this story, but did not receive a response.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Anne Partnership, Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., TIAPEI

Geographic location: Green Gables

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Recent comments

  • PUHLEEZE
    March 09, 2013 - 04:57

    Astonished at patronage? PUHLEEZE!! If you're going to vilify the Liberal Gov't, don't stop there. Habits are learned somewhere and the current gov't is not the first to indulge in patronage. Let's be honest, folks. If anything, I'm astonished at the naïvity of the comments.

  • New trend
    March 08, 2013 - 01:45

    Way to go Anne Patnership Committee. Standing up against the ghiz patronage appointments gives your committee huge credibility. Maybe setting a great example to be followed by others. Finally, a group that can't be bought off.

  • Anne Committee showing credibility against gizzy gang
    March 06, 2013 - 18:05

    Congratulations to the Anne Committee, It has certainly put some credibility back where they refused to be blackmailed for funding cuts by ghiz-Shame on those who have to blackmail a committee to keep a patronage appt. It was a stupid and blatent display of typical liberal patronage....so happy the Anne Committee stood up to the ghizzy gang.

  • Gerry
    March 06, 2013 - 05:50

    Hopefully this trend will continue, otherwise, the old boys network will never become a thing of the past. Finally, an organization which has scruples and integrity in addtion to an ability to utter the word "no" to the patronage game. PEI is coming of age indeed.

  • explanation required
    March 06, 2013 - 00:52

    What this article does not provide is any background on this organization called the ''Anne Partnership'', formerly known as ''Forever Anne''. The article states that the job of this former MLA was to promote Anne of Green Gables. My questions are: Why is public money involved in this at all? What percentage of public money going to TIAPEI ends up in this Anne organization? Where is the public oversight? How many people work or volunteer for this Anne organization? Are there any reports or accountability for what this organization does? Statistics showing that it is actually effective? It sounds a lot like an organization that needs to be shut down and cease to exist.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    March 05, 2013 - 16:58

    I also agree with most of these comments. It was a patronage job. I certainly hope that this province is not spending any money on the "ANNE" brand. There are enough people making money off of the Anne brand that they should all be standing on their own. I hope the ANNE PARTNERSHIP committee receive no government funding as it should be a private entity depending on private money.

  • Bertie
    March 05, 2013 - 16:45

    Cynthia should let loose what she has on Ghiz.

  • HMR
    March 05, 2013 - 15:24

    I fully agree with all of the comments on this well written article about this blatant patronage appointment. Ghiz and his incompetent Liberal government and their extreme over spending has to one of the very worst in PEI history!!!

  • Ralph G
    March 05, 2013 - 13:28

    Wow what a very unusual story..so refreshing .... almost never seen on PEI.... an outright exposure blow by blow play by play of a PEI political patronage situation reaching right up the office of the premier. Though patronage dominates our culture, distorts our economy, drives up our debt and our young people away, we very seldom see a premier and government caught so red handed in patronage action. Very, very nice. Congrats to the Guardian and the committee. Ten more of these and would could knock out a government. Like I mean there are many dozens out there but so very few where the top dogs get exposed so thoroughly. Fascinating. The times just might be a changing.

  • Wow Impressed
    March 05, 2013 - 12:28

    I am very impressed with the Anne committee Honesty is lacking in the goverment this government only believes in corruptness. and sending tax payers monies. It would be great if this Government would only realize that the province is BROKE and they would cancel the funds being wasted on the 2014 party year Just who are they kidding there is no extra money to toss out. again good on the Anne committee

  • Good Job Committee
    March 05, 2013 - 11:59

    "But after concerns were raised that King would not be kept on, a senior official within the Ghiz administration informed the committee it had to keep King or lose the funding, according to two independent sources involved with the organization. The committee said no to these terms and chose instead to refuse the funding." I say, well done to the committee for taking a principled stance. It is simply outrageous for the government to be doling out $$ with the proviso that a specific individual be hired rather than having an open competition. Remember when Ghiz campaigned on a promise to end patronage? And we fell for it?

  • don
    March 05, 2013 - 11:12

    thats ok dizzy will make a job for her and give her a pay of $100,000 a year.

  • johnthames
    March 05, 2013 - 10:12

    It was also never advertised.... Where will King (aka Dunsford) land now on the taxpayers' dime? Do like the rest of us: get a job, go on EI, or move away. Disgraceful Ghiz patronage should be illegal - should be in jail.

  • Jill Macdonald
    March 05, 2013 - 09:28

    I am sorry but after reading this well written article, I felt the need to take a shower. Stratford made the right decision the last election. I think that the fact that she lowered herself to accept this position shows that she was a poor choice as MLA to begin with.

  • planb'd again?
    March 05, 2013 - 09:27

    So she, "completed everything they wanted her to do." Since Islanders paid for what King did, why not list what was done? List the results of her actions. What measurable results were achieved? Or, should we just pretend that we weren't planb'd again?

    • Amen
      March 05, 2013 - 11:36

      Amen to that. This government has had no accountability at all. It's time for people to pull their heads out of the sand and start demanding some numbers to back up the spending being done.

  • Free and Still Not Worth It
    March 05, 2013 - 09:24

    Government wouldn't renew the funding if the Anne Partnership Committee went through an open selection process and the Committee wouldn't take Ms King/Dunsford back even if they could get her for nothing. Im must make handing out patronage appointments difficult when the "soft landing" recipient is seen as overpriced even when they are free.

    • Astonished As Always
      March 05, 2013 - 10:07

      Congratulations to the Anne Partnership Committee. Refusing money which is hard to come by to keep ethics on the table is commendable. Thumbs down to the Lib Gov... to tie funding to an individual. Another patronage selection deemed as ' no value '.... I am sure there are many, many more out there. It is always better to have an open selection process. When someone loses in an election perhaps from now on it will mean something...