Premier-designate John Horgan and Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs at swearing-in ceremony for NDP MLAs in May. (Stepan Vdovine/Facebook)

John Horgan names his first senior staff picks

Geoff Meggs quits Vancouver council to be chief of staff

Premier-designate John Horgan has named Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs as his chief of staff, after Meggs co-chaired the party’s election campaign this spring.

Horgan has hired Central 1 Credit Union CEO Don Wright to serve as deputy minister to the premier, the top bureaucrat in charge of the public service. Wright’s resignation from Central 1 takes effect this week.

A former executive with Weldwood Canada and president of BCIT, Wright served as deputy forests minister in the first two years of former premier Gordon Campbell’s B.C. Liberal government and also served as a deputy minister in Saskatchewan.

Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James, spokesperson for the government transition team, said Wright’s experience with the forest industry is important as B.C. deals with the latest lumber trade dispute with the U.S.

“People have huge respect from all political sides for the work that Don Wright has done, and I think that brings a real strength to the deputy to the premier position,” James said.

Meggs has resigned his Vancouver city council seat to take the new job. He replaces Bob Dewar, the former chief of staff brought in after serving with the Manitoba NDP government. Dewar remains as special advisor to the the premier.

“Geoff brings not only his local government experience, past [provincial] government experience as well from the ‘90s, but also the experience of having worked directly on the platform for this campaign, and is intimately involved with the specifics that we’ll be implementing over the next four years,” James said.

Wright resigned his job as president of BCIT in 2013, anticipating a similar appointment from then-NDP leader Adrian Dix, before Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals won a majority government in that election.

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