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

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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Transit is replacing older diesel buses in Revelstoke and the Shuswap with new light-duty gasoline buses. (Submitted/BC Transit)
BC Transit replacing buses in Revelstoke and Shuswap

The new light-duty buses will run on gasoline, replacing older diesel buses

Revelstoke Options for Sexual Health Clinic will be closed for two weeks. (Photo via Facebook)
Revelstoke OPT clinic closes temporarily due to spike in COVID cases

The clinic usually operates on Wednesday evenings

(File)
Jocelyn’s Jottings: What I stand for

I recently made a mistake. Though I strive to get it right… Continue reading

Grizzly.
Morning Start: Humans might be able to hibernate like bears

Your morning start for Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

The Animal Food Bank is asking for donations as the pandemic continues and the holidays approach. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Okanagan Animal Food Bank in need of donations as pandemic continues

The Animal Food Bank provides food for any domestic pet in need

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

(Firedog Photography)
Family rescued from Peachland area after spending night in a truck

The family was off-roading when their truck battery died and became stranded

The Vernon Towne Theatre and Galaxy Cinemas are closed under the latest pandemic protocols. (File photo)
COVID-19 closes North Okanagan movie theatres, again

Galaxy Cinemas and Towne Theatre part of latest health regulations in limiting events

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu marks 105 years

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Kelowna International Airport. ���Image: Capital News file
Two more Kelowna flights exposed to COVID-19

At least seven Kelowna flights have been exposed to COVID-19 since Oct. 21

Most Read