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Politics

Board expands review of NWT legislature clerk’s office

Last modified: April 30, 2021 at 3:04pm


The NWT legislature’s board of management has updated the terms under which an independent workplace review of the office of the assembly’s clerk will be carried out.

Longtime clerk Tim Mercer is accused of creating a toxic workplace, abusing his authority and intimidating and harassing staff and MLAs for more than a decade. 

Mercer denies any wrongdoing. He says previous investigations into his conduct found allegations against him to be unfounded. Mercer said he is willing to participate in a “fair and impartial” review.

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The review’s terms of reference now include more participants and historical conflicts. In a news release on Friday, the board said Quintet Consulting Corporation – the firm hired to complete the workplace assessment – is now authorized to identify and invite “knowledgeable individuals” to participate in the review.

The board says this includes “individuals with direct knowledge of the work environment within the Office of the Clerk or those having relevant information or documents relating to the work environment during the 19th Legislative Assembly.” 

Previously, the board stated only that current and former staff of the Office of the Clerk since the beginning of the 19th Assembly, or 2019, would have the opportunity to speak to Quintet. 

The previous terms of the review focused on “generalized concerns raised about the work environment of the office during the 19th Legislative Assembly.”

Now, the board says “reportedly unresolved historical conflicts” may also be examined, but only “to the extent they continue to have a reported impact on the current work environment of the Office of the Clerk.”

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Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn is the highest-profile complainant against Mercer.

In February, Norn said the legislature had been “infested with an ethical rot” and claimed Mercer had spent more than a decade abusing his authority and intimidating others.

Norn himself is separately under scrutiny after legislature staff were told he broke isolation earlier this month to visit the building.

The CBC reports MLAs will convene on Tuesday to discuss Norn’s actions. Cabin Radio has not independently verified the report.

Norn was quoted as telling the broadcaster he was “in the dark” about what that meeting might involve. The CBC did not report whether Norn had directly addressed the question of his breaking isolation.

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