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Labrador Grenfell Health board chair suspended

Boyd Noel has been suspended as the chair of the Labrador-Grenfell Health board of trustees. Noel says he doesn’t know why.
Boyd Noel has been suspended as the chair of the Labrador-Grenfell Health board of trustees. Noel says he doesn’t know why. - LABRADOR-GRENFELL HEALTH PHOTO

Boyd Noel doesn’t know why investigation is underway; health authority says it's confidential

LABRADOR/GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA, N.L. — Labrador-Grenfell Health (LGH) is saying little about the decision to suspend board chair Boyd Noel this past week.

But Noel is speaking out about some of his experiences on the board.

A former mayor of St. Anthony, Noel was directed to step aside from his position by Health Minister John Haggie on Nov 1.

He has held been in the role since July 2017.

The Northern Pen has learned that the Department of Health is conducting two independent investigations regarding Noel.

One investigation is into alleged bullying and harassment of senior staff of the health authority by Noel; the other is into alleged interference in the operations of the health authority by Noel, and his overall performance as board chair.

While both investigations are underway, Noel has been directed to abstain from participating in board activities either as a trustee or chair.

When approached by The Northern Pen, he declined to speak about the investigation.

However, Noel did address matters concerning the LGH board during a St. Lunaire-Griquet public council meeting on Nov 7.

The council for the Northern Peninsula town had invited Noel to the meeting to discuss health care.

Noel addressed the council, stressing that he was not representing LGH in any capacity, as board member or chair, and was there simply as a private citizen.

“I’m not here in any official capacity whatsoever,” he said.

While reading the letter he had received from the health minister, Noel said he has no information on the investigations involving him.

“The nature and terms of the investigation will be provided to you at the time the investigators are selected,” the letter stated.

Noel then provided additional comment.

“I have no idea what the investigation is about or who I bullied or if I bullied,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can say about it, but once it’s over I will agree to come back here and give a full-scale report on it.”

Board vote

Noel also addressed the events and aftermath of a September board meeting.

He told council that at the time, two positions were vacant on the LGH executive team. During the meeting, the board of trustees held a vote on whether to place one position in Labrador City and one in St. Anthony.

The motion passed by a 6-2 majority.

“Immediately following that, all hell broke loose,” Noel told the council.

The next day, two board members sent letters asking for Noel’s resignation.

A third letter was drafted by a senior staff member with LGH, expressing disappointment at the board’s decision.

The letters were sent to Health and Community Services and the region’s MHAs, among other recipients.

It’s not certain whether these complaints are the basis for either of the two investigations.

LGH response

The Northern Pen contacted LGH about the decision to suspend Noel.

The health authority provided a written statement indicating that the investigation is a confidential procedure and it would not make further comment.

Wayne Button has been named the acting chair of the board of the trustees pending the results of the investigations. Button is a chiropractor and the mayor of Labrador City.

“We are working with Dr. Button and the entire Board of Trustees to respect the process and will continue to ensure clients receive safe and quality health services,” the LGH statement read.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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