WATCH: Months after their suspension, two of the top officials at the B.C. legislature finally have some answers. The clerk, Craig James, announced his retirement just hours before a damning report is released into allegations of his misconduct. Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz remains off work on full pay. Mary Griffin tells us more.
Government House leader Mike Farnworth stood up in the legislature and tabled the Beverley McLachlin report into allegations of misconduct at the legislature on Thursday.
“I wish to inform the house that Craig James has retired, effective today,” Farnworth said.
The report found that the former clerk of the legislature, Craig James, guilty on four counts of misconduct.
McLachlin, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, says James submitted expense claims for personal items such as suits and luggage. She said he created retirement, resignation and death benefits, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, paid out to him. She also said he removed a wood splitter and alcohol from the legislature and then used that property for his own personal use. Months after raising allegations of impropriety, Speaker Daryl Plecas now feels vindicated.
“I think it says that the issues that I had raised were accurate,” Plecas said.
Earlier in 2019, when reached at his home, James remained confident of his innocence.
On Thursday, no-one answered the door. In a statement, James says he’s been publicly ridiculed, vilified, and he’s decided to retire. The three house leaders reacted with a united front.
“This has not been on the basis of partisanship, anything like that. Other than to do what’s right, and what’s in the best interests of this institution,” Farnworth said.
Plecas brushes off criticism in the report for conducting an investigation, rather than directly approaching James and Lenz with his concerns.
“I’m reminded that I’m not the first person to raise concerns. The previous auditor general sought an administrative approach. Whistleblowers have sought an administrative approach. That didn’t seem to work very well,” Plecas said.
In retirement, James will receive a non-financial settlement that includes a public service pension.