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Legislative Assembly clerk cleared of abuse of power, breached code of conduct on privacy issue

The clerk of the Legislative Assembly Tim Mercer has been cleared of allegations of abuse of power and creating a toxic work environment. 

However, according to an investigator’s report released Friday, Mercer did not meet the relevant code of conduct when it came to a fourth allegation; that he had breached privacy code of conduct rules when disclosing information about previous investigations.

Mercer was accused of abusing his power and creating a toxic work environment by several GNWT staffers, including chief electoral officer Nicole Latour, GNWT staffer April Taylor, and Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn.

Norn had called for Mercer’s resignation and a full investigation to be conducted, with the report from the investigation to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

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In February 2021, Ottawa-based firm Quintet Consulting was hired to conduct a workplace review.

A report produced by the firm described the workplace as divided, with staffers expressing both positive and negative views of the workplace. The report said the workplace issues could worsen if not dealt with.

The report states most employees felt a strong sense of belonging and took pride in the work of the Legislative Assembly and the clerk’s office and felt satisfied with the support they received towards their career development.

But some had negative feelings, including that the office had issues with preferential treatment, communication, and unresolved conflicts.

Thirty-eight employees were approached during the review, with 33 doing interviews. The report notes the ones who often attended social gatherings and had more interactions with senior management were more likely to have positive feelings about the workplace.

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“We would like to thank all participants for taking part in this review process. We understand that this has been a challenging process for everyone involved, and I appreciate everyone’s patience as Quintet completed their work,” said Legislative Assembly Speaker Frederick Blake and Chair of the Board of Management — which oversees the clerk’s office — in a statement.

“The Board has accepted the recommendations that have come out of the review report and staff in the Office of the Clerk has been directed to begin work on an action plan,” he added. 

The recommendations include engaging senior leadership, communicating with employees about the review, and taking action on the issues identified.

When it came to the privacy breach allegations submitted by the fourth complainant, the report concluded that because the complainant no longer worked in the clerk’s office that the Harassment-Free and Respectful Workplace Policy did not apply. 

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