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Politics Former MacKay staffer exits ACOA job after ‘tainted’ hiring process

A senior executive with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has lost his job after a Federal Court ruling earlier this month that called the hiring process "tainted."

Kevin MacAdam was the director general of operations of ACOA for Prince Edward Island, earning between $118,000 and $139,000 a year. He is a former staffer and friend to Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

Mr. MacAdam worked for Mr. MacKay for nearly four years before receiving the ACOA position. He was also a former cabinet minister with the Progressive Conservative government in PEI and had quit that position to work for Mr. MacKay when the federal Conservatives formed their first government in 2006.

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The Public Service Commission investigated and said his appointment should be revoked. A Federal Court judge upheld that decision this month. Justice Richard Mosley said revoking Mr. MacAdam's appointment was "a recognition of the fact that the appointment process was tainted as a result of improper conduct and therefore the appointment itself was void."

Justice Mosley there was no indication that Mr. MacAdam acted improperly.

Mr. MacAdam, however, continued to be employed by ACOA. He also continued to collect his salary as he considered whether to appeal the ruling. He had 30 days to make a decision.

But late Friday, Robert Bourgeois, media relations co-ordinator for ACOA, said in an e-mail to The Globe, that "as of close of business on May 23, 2014, Mr. MacAdam is no longer an employee of ACOA or the Public Service of Canada."

Mr. Bourgeois said this follows the Federal Court decision "related to an Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency staffing process."

He said that "ACOA is implementing the corrective action, as directed by the PSC."

Mr. MacAdam's lawyer, Craig Stehr, told The Globe his client is still considering the possibility of an appeal in the case, adding that "there was no political interference, and no question that Mr. MacAdam was well qualified for the position at ACOA."

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The Atlantic Liberal caucus had criticized Mr. MacAdam's appointment to ACOA, arguing it was political patronage.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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