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The Office of the Citizens’ Representative has found that Christopher Mitchelmore, centre, 'grossly mismanaged' his code obligations.Paul Daly/The Canadian Press

An independent investigation has found that a Newfoundland and Labrador cabinet minister violated conduct rules when he appointed a former Liberal staffer to a high-ranking public service job and immediately increased its salary.

The Office of the Citizens’ Representative, a provincial ombudsman service, has found that Christopher Mitchelmore “grossly mismanaged” his code obligations.

Carla Foote, a former Liberal staffer, was hired last year to an open marketing position at The Rooms gallery and archive in St. John’s, a provincial Crown corporation.

The report tabled today in the provincial legislature says Mitchelmore, then the minister responsible for overseeing the Rooms, told the organization’s CEO to hire Foote for the job she did not interview for.

Members of The Rooms’ executive committee of the board told investigators they felt compelled to comply with the order coming directly from the minister.

Mitchelmore was also criticized in the report for bumping the position’s annual pay so it would match Foote’s former salary of $132,000, placing her on an executive pay scale.

The province’s commissioner for legislative standards recommended Monday that Mitchelmore be reprimanded for the hiring.

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