Embattled legislature staffers respond to Plecas report, maintain innocence
The two embattled senior B.C. legislature staff at the centre of allegations of misspending have submitted their responses to a bombshell report by Speaker Darryl Plecas.
Clerk of the legislature Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz had until 4 p.m. on Thursday to respond to the allegations laid out in last month’s report.
Both men are asking that their responses be made public by the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC).
“I have responded to the concerns expressed about my behaviour as best as I can in the short time allowed to me and in the absence of access to records and staff,” wrote James in a statement.
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“I maintain, as I have all along, that I have not done anything wrong which justifies the actions that have been taken against me, or the unfair and prejudicial manner in which those actions have been taken.”
In his own statement, Lenz wrote that he had responded to “each and every allegation” in the Plecas report, and maintained that he had committed no wrongdoing.
“The negative impact this has had on me and my family is immeasurable,” wrote Lenz.
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“Over the past 13 years of service to the people of British Columbia, I have been ethical, honest, fiscally responsible, trustworthy and non-partisan. I have not acted in a manner unbecoming to the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms. It is still my hope and wish to resume my duties.”
The two men were responding to a series of detailed allegations covering an approximate two-year period, beginning when Plecas took office as Speaker of the legislature.
They include allegations of lavish spending on clothing and travel of dubious business value, the misappropriation of a truck full of alcohol and the purchase of a wood splitter that was never used at the legislature.
The report also claims James had the legislature pay him out a quarter-million dollar retirement allowance, despite not retiring, and that he had the legislature pay him out tens of thousands of dollars in unused vacation time, contrary to legislature policy.
The two men were put on administrative leave in November, and were escorted from the legislature by police.
The RCMP is investigating the allegations, along with others that Plecas says have not been disclosed publicly, and two special prosecutors have been assigned to the case.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Members of the LAMC tell Global News that James and Lenz’ responses have been passed on to the legislature’s lawyers. It was not immediately clear when they could be released publicly.
Read the entire Speaker’s report
Speaker’s Report to LAMC by on Scribd
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