Legislature-review firm must send any criminal evidence to police

The company selected to do a workplace review of the B.C. legislature in the wake of the recent spending scandal will have to give criminal evidence it finds to police, contract documents released Wednesday say.

The provincial government has issued a request for proposals to undertake the review in light of “workplace culture issues” raised in Speaker Darryl Plecas’s two reports to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee on alleged misconduct by former clerk of the legislative assembly Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz.

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Plecas accused James and Lenz of inappropriate expenses, lavish foreign trips involving little work, and questionable retirement and other benefits.

A report by former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin confirmed misconduct by James, who retired the day her report was released. Lenz was informally cleared of any misconduct by McLachlin, but both he and James remain subject to a police investigation.

Several employees were reportedly fired from the legislature for trying to blow the whistle on inappropriate spending.

The review, covering about 330 employees as well as any former employees who wish to participate, “is a broad environmental scan of a workplace used to assess the overall health of an organization,” documents say.

The results could be used to make recommendations for improved governance, organization and accountability, the request for proposals says.

It would be done concurrently with an ongoing police investigation and a comprehensive auditor general’s probe, it said.

“Proponents should be aware that any information that is received during the course of the workplace review in relation to an alleged criminal act will be referred to the police,” documents say. “Alleged unauthorized use or misuse of Legislative Assembly funds will be forwarded to the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia.”

It also said evidence of harassment or bullying would be dealt with.

Documentation said a review would encompass:

• human-resources policies and practices, including hiring, remuneration, training, performance management and termination

• department workplace environment, management and leadership, and culture, including standards of conduct and ethics

• governance and accountability frameworks, including reporting structures and oversight

A proposed budget for the workplace review is set at $100,000. The request for proposals closes Aug. 2.

The work is set for a September start.

The legislature clerk acts as the CEO of the legislative precinct, while the sergeant-at-arms is responsible for its maintenance and security, as well as oversight of the conduct of legislature staff.

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