Suspended B.C. legislature Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz (left) and Clerk of the House Craig James make their first public statement from their lawyers’ office in Vancouver, January 2019. (CTV)

B.C. legislature officers get another week to answer accusations

Andrew Wilkinson calls for salary caps, retirement at 75 from unregulated jobs for life

The house leaders of B.C.’s three parties have extended the deadline for Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz to respond formally to B.C. Legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas’s revelations about their expense account spending and travel spree.

The men have been given until Feb. 7 to report to the legislature’s management committee, which will recommend to MLAs whether James and Lenz should continue on paid leave, have their pay suspended pending a police investigation, or be terminated based on what Premier John Horgan and the party leaders have described as “shocking” apparent abuses.

Only speakers have access to receipt filings for travel and work-related expenses, and Plecas gathered evidence while travelling twice to London and once to China with the top officers since taking the position in the fall of 2017.

COLUMN: Speaker splits legislature looting spree wide open

His disclosures were handed over to the RCMP and two special prosecutors have been appointed to look into the more serious allegations, involving stolen liquor and termination of legislature staff members who questioned the lavish spending.

RELATED: Suspended B.C. legislature officers protest treatment

RELATED: Why would the B.C. legislature need a log splitter?

B.C. Auditor General Carole Bellringer has also announced her intention to examine the $70 million budget of legislature operations, following up on former auditor John Doyle’s work in 2012 that forced MLAs to produce receipts for their housing and travel, and have them posted regularly on a website.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has called for the same system for legislature officers, and a cap on salaries that would limit the clerk to the same salary as a provincial court judge, currently $266,000 per year.

As clerk, James was paid $347,000 last year, and billed more than $50,000 for travel. He called for the sergeant at arms salary to be capped at two thirds that of the clerk, and a mandatory retirement age of 75 for both positions, matching the policy of the Senate of Canada.

The B.C. Liberals’ 20-point ethics plan was laid out in a letter from Wilkinson and B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak, sent to Plecas Thursday. It recommends no foreign travel without management committee approval, and mandatory public committee meetings four times per year.

Full letter below

The disclosure of three stuffed liquor cabinets in the Speaker’s office and staff descriptions of a truckoad of liquor being removed by James led to a recommendation that there be “no purchases of alcohol, other than B.C. products to be used at public ceremonial events.”

20191229 Wilkinson Ethics L… by on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Wildlife photographer Boomer Jerritt will host Ladysmith lecture

Fresh off a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, Jerritt will speak on how climate change affects the arctic

Get ready for the 16th annual Ladysmith Show ‘n’ Shine

The show will feature cars from the past, as well as modern day marvels

Excavators help cute kid who copied their dig with his toys stay “safe at work”

Carson Carnegie wakes up at 7:00 am every morning to watch construction work on his street

Ladysmith charitable foundation targeting $60K for students in need

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s Stock the Lockers campaign goes until Sept. 3

Update on Machine Shop renovations presented to council

Prelimiary work has commenced as the Town awaits building permit approval

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Most Read