B.C. sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz resigns days before Police Act investigation to be released

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Embattled B.C. legislature sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz has resigned.

One of the two men at the centre of the spending scandal at the legislature has stepped aside, effective Tuesday.

“The Honourable Darryl Plecas, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, announced today that Gary Lenz, sergeant-at-arms of the Legislative Assembly, has retired from his position, effective October 1, 2019,” a statement from the B.C. legislature reads.

“The sergeant-at-arms is appointed pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution Act. The Legislative Assembly will undertake steps to appoint a successor to this position.”

In a statement, Lenz says he resigned with “sincere regret” and says it has “been a privilege to serve the people of British Columbia” since 2009.

“I have carried out my duties for the people of British Columbia with the utmost integrity and am proud of the many initiatives that have been put in place during my time as sergeant-at-arms,” the statement reads.

“However, I no longer believe that I can continue to work for the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. After considerable reflection, I have concluded that the damage that has been done to my reputation will never be fully repaired and that if I continued as sergeant-at-arms, I would be doing a disservice to my office.”

WATCH: Legislature sergeant-at-arms resigns





Global News has learned that Lenz has now seen a copy of an investigation completed by former Vancouver deputy police chief Doug LePard. LePard’s investigation looked into allegations Lenz had broken the rules under the provincial Police Act.

In July, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, speaking in his role as House leader, told Global News a complaint was made to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) in May.

WATCH (Sept. 25, 2019): Legislature sergeant-at-arms resigns





The complaint, which Farnworth said was filed by someone with an “extensive” law enforcement background, formed the basis of the investigation under the Police Act.

The investigation is not criminal in nature, Farnworth added, but rather a human resources matter.

Both Speaker Darryl Plecas and his chief of staff, Alan Mullen, told reporters last week that the findings of the investigation will soon be released to the public.


READ MORE:
New investigation launched into suspended B.C. legislature sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz

“That investigation is expected to conclude here in the coming weeks so we will have some information on that,” Mullen said last week.

Last November, Clerk Craig James and Lenz were put on administrative leave with pay following concerns over misspending at the B.C. legislature.

WATCH: New investigation of suspended B.C. legislature sergeant-at-arms





Two months later, Plecas released a bombshell report finding misspending ranging from retirement bonuses, the purchase of suits and the personal use of a wood splitter bought for the legislature grounds.

James retired earlier this year after an independent investigation by former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverly McLachlin found he committed administrative misconduct related to misspending at the legislature.


READ MORE:
B.C. legislature clerk Craig James retires, found to have committed ‘administrative misconduct’

Lenz was cleared of wrongdoing by McLachlin and, until Monday, was on administrative leave with pay. He was insistent after the McLachlin report that he would return to his job at the B.C. legislature.

“It was very difficult to comprehend how these allegations could be put in such a way it harmed myself, my family and my friends,” Lenz said in May.

“I’m not the type of person who holds on to the past. We need to look forward.”

The RCMP are still investigating allegations against both James and Lenz.

Last week, the legislature released executive staff compensation for the pay period between April 1 and June 30.

WATCH (May 16, 2019): Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz will remain on administrative leave





During the three-month period, James was paid $123,269, including a $63,750 vacation payout. He was also paid $1,174 for a vehicle allowance, although he regularly cycled to work while at the legislature. He officially retired on May 17, 2019.

During the same time period, Lenz was paid $61,889 while on paid leave. The compensation included a $1,067 vehicle allowance.

— With files from Sean Boynton

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