The NWT legislature’s board of management says it will launch an “independent workplace assessment” of the office of the assembly’s clerk.
The five-member board announced the decision to scrutinize the office of Tim Mercer, who has been accused of abusing his authority and intimidating subordinates, in a news release on Wednesday afternoon.
The board held a private meeting to discuss the matter earlier in the day.
Its five members are Speaker of the House Frederick Blake Jr, Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson, Kam Lake MLA Caitlin Cleveland, and government ministers Diane Archie and Paulie Chinna.
“The board of management wants to thank employees of the Legislative Assembly for their continued professionalism and their efforts to ensure all members are supported when the assembly resumes sitting next week,” the board’s news release stated.
The announcement comes after an MLA, a committee advisor, and the territory’s chief electoral officer each made allegations against Mercer regarding his workplace conduct.
On Monday, Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn called for an independent investigation and for Mercer to resign.
Mercer has denied any wrongdoing. He told Cabin Radio that while he was willing to be the subject of an independent investigation, he would “not bend and break to a coordinated attack without an opportunity to respond in a properly managed process, rather than a public shaming or media circus.”
On Tuesday, a member of the clerk’s office said Mercer is now on leave but would not confirm whether his temporary departure was related to the recent allegations.
What exactly an independent workplace assessment will look like, who will conduct that assessment, and a timeline for the assessment’s completion were not specified.
The board said it would not comment further.
Correction: February 17, 2021 – 20:26 MT. Owing to an editing error, an earlier version of this report suggested the chief electoral officer of the NWT had herself made public allegations against the clerk. She had not. The allegations were contained in a leaked document published by NNSL. This report has been updated accordingly.