An ambulance makes its way down Yellowknife's Franklin Avenue in October 2018. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
The former manager of the Northwest Territories’ 9-1-1 system, facing fraud-related charges, is filing a grievance against his dismissal from the NWT government.
Ashley Geraghty is accused of impersonating the NWT Fire Chiefs Association, attempting “to influence the City of Yellowknife mayor and council by deceit,” and trying to convince the city and its council that a forged document – relating to patient safety risks and emergency dispatch – was genuine.
Those charges have not yet been tested in court and Geraghty, who denies the charges, is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The case is set to go to trial in December.
The exact detail of the Crown’s case is not yet apparent. The NWT government and City of Yellowknife have sparred over 9-1-1 since its introduction – the city’s seven-digit alternative numbers for emergency services remain live, meaning the two systems need to work together, and the extent to which they do has been the subject of debate.
Geraghty was the territorial government’s 9-1-1 manager from the service’s roll-out in 2019.
According to Union of Northern Workers documentation included in an email shared by Geraghty with Cabin Radio, he was terminated by the NWT government in May as the territory felt he had “failed to meet the standard of conduct required as a public service employee.”
A grievance form on Geraghty’s behalf states: “The union alleges that the termination is without cause, harsh and punitive.”
In that correspondence, union service officer Shane Pike tells NWT government deputy minister Laura Gareau the GNWT “has not meet its burden of proof or given sufficient reasoning for the termination.”
Pike writes: “The grievor was under investigation for allegedly sending an email to the City of Yellowknife counsel and lying about it. The grievor denies this allegation and the employer has not provided any evidence that he was misleading.
“The union further contends that the termination is retaliation for several complaints that the grievor filed during this employment with the GNWT, including a safe disclosure claim.”
Geraghty declined an interview request, saying he had been instructed to do so by the union.
Grievances are the process by which unions handle the cases of individuals who express significant concerns about an employer. Grievances are ordinarily escalated through a series of levels until, if necessary, arbitration is used to decide them.