Members of Yellowknife’s municipal enforcement team appeared to mount an unequivocal, resolute defence of their manager in a letter reportedly delivered to the Yellowknifer newspaper this week.

On Thursday, the newspaper published the letter – dated September 5 – and said its journalists had confirmed 10 municipal enforcement staff, all named in the document, supported its contents.

Doug Gillard, manager of Yellowknife’s municipal enforcement division, has been under sustained media scrutiny since workplace harassment allegations against him were printed by the city’s news outlets in January 2018. Those allegations included bullying, inappropriate remarks to female employees, and misuse of City cameras to look at women.

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An independent inquiry into how City Hall initially handled several of the allegations, dating to 2014, was subsequently commissioned. The recently published findings of that inquiry largely exonerated the City but suggested, without using Gillard’s name, there had likely been misuse of City cameras within his division during the period in question.

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“We are frustrated with all of the negative media coverage,” the 10 officers’ letter as published by Yellowknifer states.

“We love working for this division … Our manager, Doug Gillard, has always been there for us to rely on him when we need coaching, supervision, or just plain old moral support.

“Doug is well-informed and knowledgeable and he is a great manager and mentor who helps us do the best job we can. He encourages us to be professional and he supports us in always striving to do our jobs better.”

‘This is unfair’

The letter continues: “The municipal enforcement division has employees who like their job, who respect their boss and who feel respected, and it is worth noting that half of the division staff are women.

“We are grateful to have Doug Gillard as our manager as he sets a positive tone for all of us … This treatment is unfair and should stop so we can get on with doing the important work we do with Doug Gillard as our leader.”

Yellowknifer stated it also heard from one current municipal enforcement officer, not named by the newspaper, who disagreed with the letter’s contents and reportedly called Gillard “a bully.”

Cabin Radio could not immediately reach any members of municipal enforcement staff and was not provided with its own copy of the letter, which the newspaper said was delivered by hand in response to an earlier published editorial calling for Gillard to be dismissed.

The City of Yellowknife has said it is reviewing possible next steps following receipt of the independent inquiry’s findings.

City senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett, while not specifically naming Gillard, previously told Cabin Radio she believed “people can change.”

“Appropriate action is taken and you don’t damn that person for the rest of their lives,” said Bassi-Kellett in January. “Leopards change their spots. People can have wake-up calls. Things can be done.

““If someone makes a mistake, and you correct them, and they stop making the mistake, that’s kind-of what you wanted in the first place.”