Yellowknife city councillors want 'transparent' inquiry into workplace misconduct allegations

Yellowknife city council is holding a special public meeting Tuesday to adopt guidelines for an inquiry into workplace misconduct allegations within its municipal enforcement division.

'We want to be transparent and let the public know what ... will guide the official inquiry,' says councillor

City council will hold a special public meeting Tuesday to adopt guidelines for an inquiry into workplace misconduct allegations against a city bylaw manager. (Priscilla Hwang/CBC)

Yellowknife city council is holding a special public meeting Tuesday to adopt guidelines for an inquiry into workplace misconduct allegations within its municipal enforcement division.

It comes after council held a secret meeting on the allegations earlier this month — a move that was questioned by some.

At the time, the city's senior administrative officer said the purpose of the meeting was only to share information.

"We're aiming to have aspects of this discussion that we can have in public, in public," said Coun. Adrian Bell.

"We want to be transparent and let the public know what are the principles that will guide the official inquiry and that will guide council."

Last month, CBC and local media reported allegations from former bylaw officers who claim manager Doug Gillard used public security cameras to watch women he found attractive.

They also alleged Gillard hit officers in the groin, rubbed spit on their sunglasses and made inappropriate sexual comments about female city employees.

The allegations date back to 2014.

'We want to be transparent,' says Coun. Adrian Bell. (CBC)

Residents will be informed ahead of time

While no public notice was given of the meeting held behind closed doors earlier this month, Bell said that won't be the case going forward.

Residents will be informed ahead of time of in-camera meetings related to the inquiry and of any decisions arising from them, Bell said. It's stated in the N.W.T. government's Cities, Towns and Villages Act that the senior administrative officer must give the public and councillors at least 48 hours notice in advance of a special meeting.

"So far, we've been able to have some of our conversation in public," said Bell. "But some of it has had to happen during in-camera sessions just because of the fact that it's a personnel matter."

Coun. Julian Morse said personnel matters involve private information that can't be disclosed.

However, Morse said council wants to be as transparent as it can about the inquiry and "get this process going as quickly as possible and to have it resolved as quickly as possible."

That's why council is holding the special meeting Tuesday, rather than waiting until its regular council meeting on Feb. 26 to discuss the inquiry guidelines.

The city has hired Brownlee LLP to develop the terms of reference for the investigation, according to the city's website dedicated to the inquiry.

A different third party investigator will then be hired to look into the allegations, the website states.

How much the inquiry will cost and how long it will take are still unclear.

However, Bell said those topics could be discussed at Tuesday's meeting.

Corrections

  • This story has been corrected to reflect that notice of a special meeting will be given as per territorial legislation, not per the advice of a lawyer.
    Feb 20, 2018 1:21 PM CT

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