April 16, 2018 | by: johnoshea



A federal government pilot project aimed at helping public servants solve
their Miramichi-based Phoenix pay problems appears to be yielding results,
and could finally help reduce the huge backlog of cases.

Both the backlog and the number of employees experiencing pay issues dropped
across three departments where the new approach, described as a “pod model”
that pairs advisers from the government’s pay centre with specific bureaus,
is being tested.

Robyn Benson, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said the
union has been advocating for such a change, and is glad to see it showing


City officials are expected to unveil a plan today to deal with parking
issues at the new pay centre.

The 85 million-dollar centre was built for 600 employees but only included
parking spots for about half that number. The existing parking lots are also
paid, rather than free, and managed by a thrid party. Making matter worse,
parking is prohibited on a number of nearby streets and staffing levels at
the pay centre continue to rise as they try to fix the Phoenix Payroll

There is one proposal before city council from the Mount St. Joseph Nursing
Home to create an additional paid parking lot with 105 extra spaces – but
that won’t solve the issue entirely.


Bridge Closure Delayed

The closure of the Centennial Bridge has been delayed until 2020 instead of
next year.

It will still have to be closed for six months for the most complex part of
the $100 million project which will include building new abutments on both
the Chatham and Douglastown sides and major parts of the bridge deck.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser also told the Leader
since many pedestrians use the bridge to walk to work, plans are being made
for a shuttle service.



The accounting firm Grant Thornton want charges against them in connection
with the ATCON scandal dismissed.

The provincial government is trying to get back some of the $50 million it
was left holding the bag for when Atcon went bankrupt. It says Grant Thornton
and chartered accountant Kent Otridge were negligent in providing audited
statements and a financial report back in 2009. Those reports were used to
support a $63 million loan to Atcon.

The Telegraph Journal reports that the defendants in the case are seeking to
have the case dismissed on the basis of a delayed original filing by the



Forest fire season in New Brunswick is underway.

Anyone starting a fire with a diameter of three metres or less should ensure
burning is allowed in that area, while larger fires would require a written

Under the province’s Forest Fires Act, anyone who lights a fire on forest
land is responsible for it and could be liable for the cost of fighting the
fire or replacing damaged property if it gets out of control.


Federal fisheries minister Dominic LeBlanc says that New Brunswick anglers
will be able to catch more striped bass.

They will be allowed to take three stripers every day of the season.



Prime Minister Trudea is promising to deploy financial and legislative tools
to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proceeds.

Trudeau met yesterday, before flying off to a conference in Paris, with the
premiers of B-C and Alberta.

He says the federal government is in talks with Kinder Morgan to remove any
uncertainty about the $7.8 billion project going ahead.

B-C Premier John Horgan says the meeting changed nothing and he’ll continue
to fight the expansion over concerns about its potential impact on the



NHL playoffs…the Penguins downed the Flyers 5-1 to take a two game to one
lead thanks to Sidney Crosby with a goal and three assists. The Wild beat the
Jets 6-2 and now trail Winnipeg two games to one. The Golden Knights have
pushed the Kings to the brink of elimination taking a three game to none,
lead with a 3-2 win. Blue Jackets edged the Capitals 5-4 in overtime giving
Columbus a 2-0 lead.

In the basketball playoffs…the Celtics won their openings game against the
Bucks 113-107 in overtime.

In baseball…the Blue Jays and Cleveland were rained out…or rather iced
out in Cleveland. The Red Sox beat the Orioles 3-1.

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