Executive director of the B.C. Liberal Party resigns


VICTORIA — The top official in B.C.’s Liberal party, and a key adviser to leader Andrew Wilkinson, has resigned.

Katy Merrifield, who had served as executive director of the party since February, stepped down from the position this week.

“After serving the previous government, my leadership campaign, and the party in a series of challenging leadership roles over the past decade, Katy has made a personal decision to take a much-needed break and move on from her role as executive director,” Wilkinson said in a statement Wednesday.

“While I’m sorry to lose her contributions, I know Katy will continue to use her tremendous talents to make British Columbia a better place. Katy is a valued member of the B.C. Liberal family and we wish her all the best.”

Merrifield was Wilkinson’s campaign director in the February Liberal leadership race. She was credited with steering his campaign to a come-from-behind victory by picking up key caucus endorsements, striking a deal with rival candidate MLA Mike de Jong and engineering a platform that was unapologetic in embracing the party’s values.

Before Wilkinson, Merrifield served as director of communications in Christy Clark’s office.

The Liberals won’t select a new executive director immediately. Instead, Wilkinson’s deputy chief of staff, Jen Chalmers, will reduce her caucus role to part-time so she can pick up the party workload on an acting basis, Liberal party president Don Silversides said in an internal email to supporters.

“As party president I have been asked to reconvene the personnel committee and to begin the work of finding a permanent replacement,” Silversides wrote.

The Liberals have spent the last year in opposition, after being defeated on a confidence vote in the legislature by the NDP and Green parties in June 2017. A power-sharing deal between the NDP and Greens gives the NDP the votes required to govern.

The B.C. NDP has also made some staffing changes.

NDP treasurer Amber Hockin has resigned to take a job as Premier John Horgan’s deputy chief of staff. She will report to chief of staff Geoff Meggs, a former Vancouver city councillor. Hockin was most recently operations director at the MoveUp union, and in 2014 ran to become president of the B.C. Federation of Labour before losing to Irene Lanzinger. Hockin’s salary will start at $150,000.

rshaw@postmedia.com

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Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics

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