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

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Patients thank Kootenay Boundary doctor

Dr. Scheepers’ patients thanked him for the gift of restoring their sight

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

Most Read