Ian Ferguson has been replaced as the chief executive officer of WCG International Consultants Ltd., one of two companies contracted to provide welfare-to-work services for the provincial government. In an exclusive interview with Public Eye, Fletcher McCusker, the chairman and chief executive officer of WCG's Tuscon, Arizona owner, explained, "It became clear to us that there were some issues between the historical management there and the ministry (of housing and social development). And we elected to make some changes that we feel better address our relationship with the payer."
Those issues, according to Mr. McCusker, included the ministry's recent decision to cancel WCG's contract to provide welfare-to-work services in the Interior - first reported by The Tyee's Andrew Macleod. And "there has been some public concerns expressed regarding the profitability of this enterprise."
"We are very decentralized. We hold our local managers responsible for their diplomatic and political relationships - which, ultimately, are our payers. And there's very little I can do or try to do at my level to influence local politics. So we live or die by how our field staff relate to our payers," Mr. McCusker continued, adding WCG president James Rae and chief financial officer John Parker's were also no longer working for the firm as of January 1 because, like Mr. Ferguson, their contracts were not renewed.
In a subsequent interview, Mr. Ferguson denied having been replaced as WCG's chief executive officer because of issues between his company and the ministry. "I would have actually left 18 months ago when I sold the company" to Mr. McCusker's firm, Providence Service Corp. "However, part of the terms of the sale was I couldn't. So I stayed for the 18 months required under the terms of the purchase of company agreement. The natural expiry date of my contract was December 31. And I worked right up to December 31."
Mr. Ferguson said there was no option to extend his contract under the agreement "nor would I have entertained one."
WCG's president and chief executive officer is now Darlene Bailey, the company's former chief operating officer.