NEWS
01/28/2018 13:30 EST | Updated 01/28/2018 13:40 EST

Two key members return, other positions slashed in Ontario PC staffing changes

TORONTO — Two key members of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party who resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Patrick Brown have now returned, while multiple other party positions are being slashed, according to a memo obtained by the Canadian Press.

The party's chief of staff, Alykhan Velshi, and director of communications, Nick Bergamini, were two of four key party members who announced their resignations minutes before CTV News aired graphic allegations against Brown.

The allegations, which have not been independently verified by The Canadian Press, were made to CTV by two women.

Brown denied them in a brief, emotional news conference just before the report aired Wednesday night, but announced his resignation as party leader in a statement early the next morning.

The Tory caucus chose Vic Fedeli as its interim leader on Friday, and the party will hold a leadership race to choose a permanent replacement sometime before March.

An email sent to party staff by Velshi on Sunday outlined his and Bergamini's return to their previous positions, while also announcing that many high-level positions would be eliminated in a "reorganization" following the Brown debacle.

An executive director position, two deputy chief of staff positions, a party adviser position, and a number of junior and mid-level jobs are being eliminated.

"With any change in leadership comes a need for reorganization," wrote Velshi in the email. "While reorganizations are always difficult, they are also sometimes necessary."

Velshi also noted that the staffing changes were based on recommendations he made to Fedeli.

He underlined that the decisions had nothing to do with Fedeli's own campaign objectives to become the party's next leader ahead of a provincial election in June. 

"At no point did (Fedeli's) campaign team attempt to influence or interfere in those decisions," wrote Velshi in the memo. "Responsibility for any recommendation is mine alone."