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Head of N.B. public libraries quits amid patronage accusations

Opposition said Cormier had few qualifications to run 64 public libraries


July 6, 2020
By Kevin Bissett/The Canadian Press

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FREDERICTON — The executive director of the New Brunswick Public Library Service is resigning after just five months on the job amid accusations he got the position through political patronage.

Kevin Cormier sent a letter Monday to library staff in which he stated he has become a distraction to the library service.

In the memo — obtained by The Canadian Press — Cormier says the attention his appointment has attracted isn’t fair to the staff or to the people they serve.

“While I have hoped to be able to move past this and demonstrate what we can do together, it has become clear that is not likely possible,” he wrote.

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Opposition Liberals said Cormier had few qualifications to run the 64 public libraries, a post that comes with a salary of up to $114,000 per year. The job listing required a master’s degree in library or information studies, but Liberal legislator Guy Arseneault had said Cormier’s qualifications fall short of that.

Cormier’s LinkedIn profile says he was at a business school in Toronto for a year and spent two years at the Moncton Flight College.

For seven years he was executive director of the provincially run Kings Landing historical settlement near Fredericton. He had also worked for a year as an adviser in the province’s Executive Council Office, which reviews and coordinates regulatory and legislative proposals that affect government policy.

He wrote he’ll be returning to the Executive Council Office as of July 13.

“I joined the civil service more that 15 year ago to do my part to help make New Brunswick a better place and that remains my objective today,” Cormier wrote. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for you all, for what (the library service) provides to New Brunswickers and for what it stands for.”

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder had defended the hiring and denied any patronage.