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Mayor contesting MHA in St. Barbe – L’Anse aux Meadows district

Roddickton-Bide Arm Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald reflects on disappointments in 2018, but feels her town’s community spirit remains strong.
Sheila Fitzgerald, mayor of Roddickton-Bide Arm, had to leave her job in order to run as Progressive Conservative in the St. Barbe – L’Anse aux Meadows district. - Contributed

Sheila Fitzgerald quits civil service job to run in NL provincial election

The race for the district of St. Barbe – L’Anse aux Meadows is, so far, a two-way battle.

Roddickton-Bide Arm Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald is hoping to defeat incumbent MHA Chris Mitchelmore.

But before she could put her name forward for nomination Fitzgerald had a tough choice to make.

She had to quit her job.

Fitzgerald has been a social work supervisor for 21 years with the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development.

She says she was denied an unpaid leave of absence to run in the election because she was declared to be a “politically-restricted employee”.

Fitzgerald was told that in her position she had “discretion regarding the provision of services to persons, businesses or other organizations.”

She was left with a decision to leave her job in order to run in the election.

She felt it was a big decision to make but the time was right to make a move.

“I figure if I move to the next level (of government) I might be in a position to actually do more,” she told The Northern Pen. “I want to be closer to the fire, where bigger decisions are being made.”

So far Fitzgerald and Mitchelmore are the only two contenders for the district.

Neither the NDP nor the NL Alliance have announced a candidate yet. Nominations close in all districts tomorrow, April 25.

Mitchelmore, who was first elected to the district under the NDP banner in 2011, sat as an independent from 2013 to 2014 and was re-elected under the Liberal banner in 2015. In that election Mitchlemore had a landslide victory collecting 89% of the ballots cast.

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