Unclear whether MED boss can access cameras

by Sidney Cohen - August 31, 2018

Doug Gillard, the beleaguered manager of Yellowknife’s bylaw enforcement division, still had his job as of Friday afternoon.

But whether he still has access to city-owned security cameras remains an open question.

It remains unclear whether municipal enforcement manager Doug Gillard still has access to city security cameras.

Gillard is alleged to have used security cameras to ogle women at city facilities.

These allegations, and accusations of workplace misconduct arising from a 2014 complaint, were the subjects of an official inquiry that wrapped up earlier this week.

On Thursday, council met behind closed doors to discuss what was called “a personnel matter” that at least one city councillor said was related to the official inquiry into alleged misconduct at the Municipal Enforcement Division (MED).

According to a three-paragraph report on the inquiry’s findings released on Aug. 28, it is “more likely than not” that city security cameras were misused inside MED.

But in an interview on Friday, Sheila Bassi-Kellett, the city’s senior administrative officer, would neither confirm nor deny whether Gillard is still authorized to operate the city’s security camera system.

“We have a security camera policy in place that outlines the parameters for the use of the cameras,” said Bassi-Kellett, referencing the policy that was instituted in February after the allegations were made public.

“Based on the finding that there was some misconduct in the workplace related to security camera misuse, we are right now looking at next steps and seeking some external legal advice on that.”

When asked whether she believed Gillard should lose his job, the SAO repeated the refrain offered by most city councillors following the release of the inquiry’s report: “I am not prepared to speak on anything to do with a specific employee issue.”

She added that “the city is bound to protect the privacy of our employees, and we take this really seriously, as any employer should.”

Bassi-Kellet also declined to say what happens to the pension of a city employee who is terminated with cause.

To date, Gillard has not commented on any of the allegations.

Coun. Julian Morse said, “obviously I’d love to share my thoughts on the matter but I cannot,” when asked for comment on inquiry’s conclusion.

Coun. Adrian Bell, who is running for mayor, acknowledged that there is a strong public interest in the findings of the inquiry and any disciplinary actions taken as a result, “but that has to be balanced with rules about confidentiality, and there is a public interest in not exposing the city to liability as well.”

Coun. Rebecca Alty, who is also running for mayor, said the SAO is responsible for disciplining city employees, and that she hopes the city acts according to its legal advice.

Former officer unhappy with inquiry outcome

Not everyone involved however, is so tight-lipped.

The former bylaw officer behind the 2014 complaint that was at the centre of the inquiry is frustrated with how the investigation played out.

“I’m just frustrated because I thought more was going to come of it than this,” Shayne Pierson said on Friday.

Pierson, who was fired from the Municipal Enforcement Division (MED) in 2014, made a formal complaint to the city alleging his ex-boss, Doug Gillard, bullied his employees, hit them in the groin, and made sexual remarks about women who worked at the city.

The city launched its inquiry into allegations of workplace misconduct at MED after accusations against Gillard were reported by Yellowknifer and the CBC.

Vancouver-based law firm Miller Thomson LLP was hired to investigate how the city handled Pierson’s complaint, and the additional accusation that Gillard used security cameras to eye women.

Pierson was interviewed by lawyer Dev Chankasingh as part of the the inquiry.

On the handling of Pierson’s complaint, Miller Thomson determined that “proper procedure was followed,” and that “while the process for communication as to the outcome of the investigation could have been improved upon, all interested parties were advised of the outcome.”

Pierson says he was initially misled about the results of the investigation into his complaint, and that his suspicions were confirmed several years later, after hundreds of city emails were leaked last December.

In a 2015 email obtained by Yellowknifer, Dennis Kefalas, then-senior administrative officer, told Pierson that his compliant was investigated and that the “third party found your complaints to be unfounded.”

However, in an Oct. 30, 2014 email to the lawyer investigating Pierson’s complaint, Kefalas writes that Gillard was soon to receive a letter of discipline.

“How do you give out a letter of reprimand on a complaint if the complaint was unfounded?” Pierson said on Friday.

Pierson did not want to comment on whether Gillard should keep his job but he does want to know if his 2014 complaint was founded or unfounded, and assurances that policies are in place to stem future misconduct at MED.

He said he will probably never see the full report on the inquiry.

“I’m just annoyed,” he said.