Sept. 19, 2007
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Jean-Guy Finn was appointed today as commissioner on the future of local governance, by Premier Shawn Graham. The one-year appointment responds to a recommendation of the Task Force on Self-Sufficiency, and represents the first comprehensive review of local governance in the province in forty years.
"A strong, self-sufficient New Brunswick requires strong communities," Graham said. "I am pleased that Mr. Finn has accepted this challenging position, and I know that he will use his considerable knowledge and abilities to initiate significant, positive changes in the local government system. I want to emphasize that there will be no forced municipal amalgamation as a result of this review."
The commissioner's mandate will cover an examination of the structure and organization of local governance in the province, regional co-operation, property taxation, and local government funding arrangements, as well as the legislative framework required to implement an action plan he is to submit to government in the fall of 2008.
The action plan is expected to contain concrete measures for better positioning New Brunswick communities to contribute to and benefit from the self-sufficiency agenda, as well as suggested approaches to implementing the commissioner's recommendations.
"I am honoured to have been tasked with this work, and I will approach this challenge in a spirit of co-operation and with an open mind," Finn said. "I am fully aware of the scope of this review and its importance to New Brunswick's future, and am enthusiastic at the prospect of being part of the path forward."
The work of the commissioner will entail a review and analysis of existing studies and reports and the results of past consultative activities on the subject of New Brunswick's local governance system. In addition to this review of existing documentation, the commissioner will engage in discussions with stakeholder groups and provide opportunities for residents and groups to submit their views.
Local Government Minister Victor Boudreau joined the Premier and Finn for the announcement.
"This is a momentous day for the local governance landscape in New Brunswick," Boudreau said. "Undertaking an integrated look at the factors affecting community viability is long overdue, and I offer the full co-operation of my department as the commissioner gathers information to support the development of his action plan."
Finn is a former New Brunswick secretary to cabinet; clerk of the Executive Council; and former deputy minister of Advanced Education and Training; Health and Community Services; Intergovernmental Affairs; and Aboriginal Affairs. Since his retirement from public service, he has continued to serve with several provincial and national organizations. He is currently a member of the board of the governors at lŽUniversité de Moncton, and a councillor with the Health Council of Canada. He has also acted as a senior advisor on public sector management and reform initiatives in Canada and abroad. He was the first recipient of the Lieutenant-Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Administration for the province of New Brunswick, in May 2001.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brendan Langille, communications, Commissioner of Local Government, 506-444-5070.