British Columbia

Gary Lenz resigns as B.C.'s sergeant-at-arms, citing irreparable damage to reputation

B.C.'s suspended sergeant-at-arms has stepped down, nearly a year after he was escorted from the legislature amidst allegations of questionable spending.

Official was escorted from legislature by police in November 2018

Former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz resigned last week. (Ben Nelms/Canadian Press)

B.C.'s suspended sergeant-at-arms has stepped down, nearly a year after he was escorted from the legislature amidst allegations of questionable spending.

Gary Lenz officially resigned from the position on Tuesday. He released a statement saying he has carried out his duties "with utmost integrity" and that he's proud of his work over the last decade.

"However, I no longer believe that I can continue to work for the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia," Lenz wrote.

"After considerable reflection, I have concluded that the damage that has been done to my reputation will never be fully repaired, and that if I continued as sergeant-at-arms, I would be doing a disservice to my office."

Lenz has been on paid administrative leave ever since he and then-clerk Craig James were escorted from the legislature by police in November 2018. James stepped down from his position in May.

The two men have spent the months since November under a cloud of suspicion as a series of investigations have looked into allegations of misconduct and overspending.

In May, former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin released an explosive report that showed multiple examples of misconduct by James, including buying expensive suits and luggage for personal use and the improper acceptance of a $257,988 payout from a retirement benefit program.

McLachlin's report found that Lenz's behaviour did not constitute misconduct, but that he had improperly claimed benefits and used legislature property for personal reasons.

A more recent report from B.C.'s auditor general raised questions about how travel expenses were handled at the legislature, including expense claims by James and Lenz where it wasn't clear what business was being conducted and whether it was for official purposes.

The results of a police investigation into the allegations against Lenz and James are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Both men have denied any wrongdoing. In Tuesday's statement, Lenz said he has "co-operated with every request that has been made of me since being removed from office in November 2018."

With files from The Canadian Press

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