Premier Robert Ghiz gains, loses senior staffers

Teresa Wright
Published on October 22, 2014

Liberal Guy Gallant looks to unseat Conservative MP Gail Shea in Egmont.

A former advisor to P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz who left to work for the Liberal premier of Nova Scotia last year is returning to work in Prince Edward Island.

Geoff Townsend will return in November to work as Ghiz’s principal secretary.

This was the same position he held in Nova Scotia for the last year in Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil’s office.

Townsend was a close member of the P.E.I. premier's inner circle since Ghiz was first elected leader of the provincial Liberal party in 2003.

Before that he worked for former premier Catherine Callbeck and later in opposition until the Liberals took office again with Ghiz in 2007.

But just as Ghiz is regaining a member of his team, he is losing another.

Guy Gallant, who has been serving as the P.E.I. premier’s press secretary, is leaving Nov. 10 to work for the newly elected Liberal premier in New Brunswick, Brian Gallant.

Other senior management changes at the executive council level were also made recently.

Teresa Hennebery was appointed the province’s new deputy minister of Intergovernmental and Public Affairs.

She is replacing Stephen MacLean, clerk of the executive council who held the role on an interim basis after Matt McGuire left the provincial government to work with the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. in Summerside.

Hennebery is returning to the provincial public service after completing a work interchange with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

She was a former assistant deputy minister of health operations for the province.

Ghiz also appointed Rochelle Gallant to serve as assistant deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs. She has worked with the province for over 20 years.

“I’m pleased to be working with such a skilled and experienced team of professionals,” Ghiz said in a statement issued late Tuesday.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Guy for his work and commitment to the province over the last few years.”

Hennebery and Gallant’s appointments to senior management became effective on Oct. 7.