The speaker of the NWT’s Legislative Assembly says he is “disappointed” that two complainants featuring in an independent investigation of the legislature’s clerk have dismissed the report’s findings.
In a statement on Friday, Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn, NWT Chief Electoral Officer Nicole Latour, and their lawyer Steven Cooper called the investigation’s conclusions “largely irrelevant” and the “by-product of a dysfunctional and corrupt system.”
Their statement followed the release of a report summarizing how misconduct allegations against longtime legislature clerk Tim Mercer were reviewed by Ottawa-based Quintet Consulting.
The 24-page document found the office is “divided” and lacks unity but was not toxic or poisoned in an “overall broad sense.” The report dismissed three of four allegations against Mercer, including claims of harassment and bullying by Norn and Latour.
In response on Monday, Speaker Frederick Blake Jr rebuked the pair in a written statement, calling the investigation “thorough, independent, and impartial.”
“I am disappointed that they have dismissed outright the conclusions of the summary report without having reviewed the workplace review and investigation reports,” Blake wrote.
Those more detailed documents are to be made public once they are suitably redacted to protect the privacy of those involved, the legislature’s board of management said. Blake said the summary had been made public earlier to “address inaccurate information circulating.”
“To be clear,” Blake continued, “both parties have made broad, sweeping allegations of misconduct and have failed to provide any credible evidence to prove those allegations.
“I am hopeful that the release of the redacted reported will provide clarity for the parties involved as well as staff, the public, and the media.”
In an email to Cabin Radio, Cooper said he and the two complainants were “looking into options” regarding the investigation and workplace review but their focus now is an unrelated upcoming hearing over allegations that Norn breached the NWT MLAs’ code of conduct.
The legislature’s board of management said it accepts the findings of the workplace review and the clerk’s office will begin work on an action plan to address the concerns of current and former employees.
In his own statement, Mercer said he was “pleased” with the report and accepts its findings.