Bylaw manager still has access to cameras: city boss

by Sidney Cohen - January 16, 2018

Doug Gillard, the embattled manager of municipal enforcement, still has access to closed circuit cameras of city facilities, according to senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett.

Gillard has been accused by two former bylaw officers of using the cameras to look at women from a screen in his office.

Kerry Nicholson and Jamie Fudge allege in sworn statements recorded by a lawyer in 2014 that Gillard used to show officers footage of women at the library and zoom in on them from his monitor.

Yellowknife Senior Administrative Officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett says she is waiting to her from city council before deciding on the future of bylaw manager Doug Gillard.
March 14, 2017

Bassi-Kellett says, however, that the city uses a special software that tracks the use of city-owned CCTV cameras.

“Anytime one of those cameras is moved, is zoomed, is adjusted in some way, the software records the movement of the camera along with who initiated the movement,” Bassi-Kellett said Tuesday.

She said a number of city employees have access to the cameras, including Gillard.

Bassi-Kellett was unable to confirm when the tracking software was installed.

Gillard has declined to speak to the allegations, and the city says it can’t comment on personnel matters for privacy reasons.

Bassi-Kellett assumed the role of senior administrative officer at the city in March of 2017, replacing Dennis Kefalas as the city’s highest-ranking bureaucrat.

She was made aware of the allegations against Gillard within the past “month or two.”

Bassi-Kellett said it is “really premature” to say right now whether she would consider firing Gillard, and that she is waiting to see how council responds to the allegations.

When Bassi-Kellett came on as SAO, council directed her to make changes to the city’s corporate culture.

“I want to make sure employees feel safe and comfortable in raising issues and concerns,” she said.

She said the whistleblower policy, which was adopted at the end of 2017, is a tool city employees can now use to make anonymous complaints.

City workers can also make anonymous complaints directly to Bassi-Kellett.

“The allegations right now … they paint a picture of a work culture that nobody I know would want to work in, that’s a toxic environment,” said Bassi-Kellett.

“I feel very bad that staff felt they had no avenue to address that.”

Though she said she couldn’t speak about the 2014 complaint by fired former officer Shayne Pierson nor the allegations against Gillard, Bassi-Kellett said city administration at the time acted based on legal advice.

“What I say now is there is a different corporate culture at the city, including a gender-balanced senior management team.”

Four out of the seven city managers are women.

“There’s no more good-old-boys network,” she said.

Deputy mayor wants inquiry into workplace misconduct

Meanwhile, a city councillor is calling for an official inquiry into allegations of workplace misconduct and bullying at the Municipal Enforcement Division.

Adrian Bell says he will ask council at its meeting Monday to consider appointing an independent investigator to look into allegations of sexual and physical misconduct and bullying at MED, and how they were investigated.

Bell’s motion could prompt council to publicly debate for the first time claims of a toxic and sexist workplace culture at MED.

In sworn statements made to a lawyer in 2014, and interviews with Yellowknifer, former MED officers allege their manager, Doug Gillard, engaged in inappropriate sexual and physical behaviour, intimidation and bullying.

Yellowknifer spoke to 10 former MED officers, several of whom said they quit MED because Gillard created an intolerable working environment.

Some say their time at MED drove them to leave the field of law enforcement.

The allegations against Gillard span about a decade, from the early 2000s until 2014. He was manager throughout. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Gillard is alleged to have made inappropriate sexual comments about women who worked at the city, to have hit officers in the groin, wiped spit on officers’ sunglasses and to have used the city’s closed-circuit (CCTV) cameras to look at women.

In recorded testimonies made under oath, two former officers, Kerry Nicholson and Jamie Fudge, separately say they witnessed Gillard use CCTV cameras to view women.

City councillors were sent copies of the Nicholson recording on Jan. 5.

‘Somebody would see a hot girl’

Two former officers said some MED members co-opted the RCMP ten-code for a person of interest – “10-42” – to alert others about an attractive woman.

“Somebody would see a hot girl standing on the corner, or doing something, and you know, he’d radio in 10-42 at the corner of, you know, whatever, 50th and 50th,” Nicholson says in the audio recording.

“Then other officers would drive by and check it out.”

Shayne Pierson, another former MED officer, made a formal complaint against MED management that was investigated in 2014 by lawyer Michelle Theriault.

In a statement to Theriault as part of that investigation, Pierson says he tried talking to Gillard about his behaviour in August 2013, and approached Dennis Marchiori, the director of public safety, about Gillard in April 2014.

Pierson states that Marchiori told him to address his issues through the “chain of command” – meaning his supervisor who reported directly to Gillard.

Marchiori was, and still is, Gillard’s direct superior.

Yellowknifer asked Kerry Penney, the city’s director of Policy, Communications and Economic Development, last Friday for an interview with Marchiori to discuss the allegations against Gillard, and whether Marchiori was aware of the allegations prior to this week’s media reports.

Penney said Marchiori was made aware of Yellowknifer‘s request, and that he will not be commenting at this time.

Since reports of harassment, inappropriate sexual behaviour and bullying at MED were published in News/North Monday, new allegations against Gillard have emerged.

Three former officers, including Kerry Nicholson, allege Gillard made homophobic remarks on the job. Another former officer has come forward with new allegations of sexual harassment by Gillard. The stories of these former officers will be published in Friday’s Yellowknifer.

Mayor Mark Heyck was not available for an interview on Tuesday.

He has not yet spoken publicly about the allegations against Gillard or the workplace culture at MED.

On Monday, Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart tweeted that the allegations of sexual misconduct and intimidation at the city are “very troubling,” and that he hopes “city officials take immediate action to address these complaints.”