Termination letter returned
Williams gets apology for shoddy treatment

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 05/97) - The territorial government apologized Monday for the mismanaged dismissal of liquor board boss Merlyn Williams.

Answering a question posed two weeks ago by Yellowknife South MLA Seamus Henry, Finance Minister John Todd said a letter had been sent to Williams (left) informing him of his termination on Dec. 10.

"Unfortunately this letter was returned undelivered, so Mr. Williams was right when he said he received no notification other than a telephone call," said Todd.

"I sincerely hope he will accept my apology, on behalf of myself, Minister Antoine and the government," said Todd.

Williams said the mistake raised questions about his competence.

"Some people asked, `What did you do wrong?' Well, I didn't do anything wrong. In fact, I thought I did a damn good job."

He said he has twice called Jim Antoine's office requested a debriefing meeting. Williams calls have not been returned, in fact he has not heard or received correspondence from the government since the phone call notifying him of his termination.

Williams said he has sought legal advice but is reluctant, because of the almost imposing resources the government can bring to bear, to take the matter to court.

Todd said he had seen the returned letter. Responding to a request from Yellowknife MLA Roy Erasmus, Todd said he will table the envelope in the assembly if he can find it.

Since its restructuring, responsibility for the Liquor Licensing Board has been shifted from Public Works and Services to the Department of Finance.

Todd last week praised Williams' work as chairman and confirmed his termination was a purely administrative decision.