City hall entering ‘new era,’ says senior official

by Avery Zingel - May 1, 2018

In a matter of one week at city hall, two senior officials announced their resignation and an inquiry into allegations of workplace misconduct expanded to include whether the manager of bylaw improperly used city cameras.

Yellowknife senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett is calling it a ‘new era’ at city hall after the departure of top city officials Dennis Kefalas and Dennis Marchiori.

The city is entering a “new era,” said senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellet said in an interview with Yellowknifer.

“I hope that there has been a very clear process and that people have a lot of faith in the city. There is great work that goes on to serve the (public’s) best interests,” she said.

“This is a new era. Times are different. We’re moving forward. We’re changing the ways of doing business.”

Yellowknifer reported April 27 that director of public safety Dennis Marchiori had resigned, a little more than a week after Dennis Kefalas, director of public works, announced his own departure.

Despite the departure of Kefalas and Marchiori, the information lawyers from Miller Thompson LLP in Vancouver needs to conduct the inquiry and produce a “robust” report will be readily available to them, she said.

The city is “not at liberty” to speak about whether Kefalas or Marchiori’s departures were related to the coming inquiry, said Bassi-Kellett.

As the city confirmed, its methodology for the inquiry with Miller Thompson, and has since added whether closed circuit cameras were used inappropriately by municipal enforcement manager Doug Gillard.

“When we first learned of these allegations, we automatically took steps to shut the cameras down and took the time to develop a policy … so that members of public can see the exact parameters,” said Sheila Bassi-Kellett.

“We took that action to ensure going forward there were very rigorous and robust parameters around this,” she said.

Since the allegations arose several years ago, the city has implemented a whistle-blower policy and harassment-free workplace rules, said Bassi-Kellett.

That includes information about the processes and protocols used and in place at the time of the allegations.