Bylaw staff defend embattled bylaw boss

by Sidney Cohen - September 6, 2018

It has been eight months since it was first reported that Doug Gillard, manager of the Municipal Enforcement Division (MED), allegedly harassed his staff and used city security cameras to eye women.

In that time, Gillard has refused to publicly address the allegations, and none of his subordinates have come to his defense.

Until now.

Doug Gillard: Staff defend embattled bylaw manager in letter to Yellowknifer.
Doug Gillard: Staff defend embattled bylaw manager in letter to Yellowknifer.

On Wednesday, a bylaw officer, who wished to remain nameless, stopped by the Yellowknifer office and hand-delivered a letter in support of Gillard with the names of 10 MED staff members on it.

Excluding Gillard, 12 people work at MED: six constables, two parking enforcement officers, two supervisory constables and two clerks.

Yellowknifer spoke with the 10 people listed at the bottom of the letter and each confirmed they had added his or her name to the note backing Gillard.

The letter was in response to an editorial in Wednesday’s Yellowknifer that called on the city to oust Gillard from the his role as head of MED.

In the typed letter, MED staffers say they believe Gillard’s treatment in the press has been “unfair and should stop.”

They write that they are acting as private citizens, and taking the “unusual step” of sending a letter to the newspaper because they love working for bylaw enforcement and because Gillard is a “great manager and mentor who helps us do the best job we can.”

Dissension in the ranks

But not everyone at the division has joined the alliance behind Gillard.

On Wednesday night, Yellowknifer received an email from a MED officer, who wished to remain anonymous, stating there are officers who disagree with the letter’s assertion that Gillard is a respectful and supportive boss.

The email states that some officers were not consulted before the letter was handed to the newspaper.

The officer implores Yellowknifer not to print the letter because it does not reflect the opinion of everyone at MED.

On Thursday, Yellowknifer spoke to the officer who said in their view, officers who keep their heads down and do their jobs unquestioningly are treated favourably by Gillard but anyone who raises concerns or questions the way things are done is blacklisted.

“It’s his way or the highway,” the officer said over the phone.

The officer said Gillard has shut down officers’ concerns without offering a reason or having a discussion.

“I find Mr. Gillard to be a bully,” said the officer.

“The (Wednesday Yellowknifer) editorial, I would have agreed with that one more than the (letter) the other officers sent in.”

Gillard was thrust back into the news recently after an inquiry into 2014 allegations of workplace misconduct under his watch concluded it is “more likely than not” that city security cameras were misused inside MED.

He is accused of ogling women with the cameras and inviting other officers to watch. The allegations come from two former MED officers who provided sworn statements in a lawsuit filed by former supervisory constable Doug Norrad whom Gillard fired in 2012.

Gillard is also accused of making sexist remarks on the job and bullying staff.

Daryle Foster, a supervisory constable whose name is on the letter backing Gillard, said he believes the allegations against his manager are untrue.

“They haven’t been proven,” Foster said Thursday.

MED officer Raymond Songco, said he put his name on the letter because since he began his job in 2016, Gillard has been a “nice boss to me.”

Songco said he is aware of the accusations faced by Gillard but would not comment on them as they are from before his time at the division.

“I read all the newspapers, I’m kind of sad that it’s happening that way with him,” he said.

Letter from MED employees