B.C. legislature scandal: Speaker tried to appoint friend as interim sergeant-at-arms

House leaders told Darryl Plecas that was inappropriate, Mary Polak says

B.C. legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas suggested his friend and assistant Alan Mullen be appointed as an interim replacement the night before the abrupt suspension of its two top administrative officers, B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak said Thursday.

Polak told reporters that she and other party house leaders were called to a meeting with Plecas at 8 p.m. Monday to discuss how to proceed after the appointment of special prosecutors to supervise an investigation into unknown allegations against the top administrators of the legislature, Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz and Clerk of the House Craig James.

James and Lenz were placed on paid administrative leave the following morning and escorted from the legislature by local police. James said he had no indication of what allegations he was facing and was seeking legal advice.

When Plecas raised the suggestion that Mullen be appointed sergeant at arms on an interim basis, Polak said she and NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said ‘no’ and the meeting moved to other topics.

“During that meeting, Speaker Darryl Plecas stated his wish that Alan Mullen be appointed as acting sergeant at arms of the legislature after the departure of Gary Lenz from that position,” Polak said, reading from a sworn affidavit. “Our response was no, quite firmly.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wouldn’t comment on whether Mullen should continue as a political advisor to Plecas, a previously unknown role, appointed without the knowledge of MLAs.

“I think all of us are concerned to find out that there had been a seven-month long investigation by someone with no legal training or policing experience, and that this was being effectively hidden from the accountable assembly, which is the legislature,” Wilkinson said.

RELATED: Investigation of legislature officers started in January

NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said Polak’s affidavit is accurate, and he too rejected the suggestion that Mullen be appointed. The legislature is expected to consider temporary appointments for the position as soon as Thursday afternoon.

“I have confidence in the speaker and I know that he is going to be receiving additional resources,” Farnworth said. “I know this is a challenging time.”

The decision to place James and Lenz on administrative leave was made after legal advice from the Attorney General’s ministry, Farnworth said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Soapbox derby a success in uptown Port Alberni

Organizers say an adult racing category is coming for 2020

Alberni teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

Two Port Alberni teens are missing after their vehicle was found on… Continue reading

Watch the museum come to life with Our Town in Port Alberni

July 23 event takes place at Gyro Recreation Park

Alberni drag racers travel to Port McNeill for event on airport runway

More than 20 drag racers from the Alberni Valley travelled to Port… Continue reading

Learn the art of songwriting with musician John Pippus

Writing workshop, performance at Words on Fire highlight a trip to Alberni

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Comox Valley military museum could be closed for a couple of months

HMCS Alberni site suffered water damage during a recent downpour

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read