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

Troll Grandfather bridges gap in Vernon

Spotlight Kids’ Series show comes to town Sunday

SS Freestyle seeks new home in Vernon for fall 2020

Trampoline regulations have forced freestyle club out of its current bounce house

Armstrong fair chooses 2020 theme

All things vegetable to be celebrated in 2020 with the theme Our Roots Run Deep

Drug stores team up for Vernon hospital foundation

Burger and beer fundraiser to raise cash to help women’s health

Conservative candidate Tracy Gray wins Kelowna-Lake Country

The Canadian Press declared her the winner around 8:30 p.m.

Conservative Dan Albas wins Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Supporters for candidates gather in West Kelowna to watch election results

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Sentencing date set for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

Former Mount Boucherie teacher Bradley Furman will be sentenced on Dec. 16

New trial ordered for Salmon Arm optician convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy

Kenneth Pilkington was ininitally found guilty of the offense

Most Read