City staff obligated to report camera misuse: SAO

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City employees now have an updated code of ethics around workplace conduct and tighter rules around using closed circuit cameras that requires them to report misuse to their supervisors.

According to administration it was the previous’ council directive to update public human resource policies on a regular basis.

“We want to make a minor change to expand the definition of harassment so that definition fits with what is set out in the occupational health and safety regulations,” said senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett during a council meeting last week.

NNSL photo
The city staff have a strengthened obligation to report security camera misuse, said Senior Administrative Officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett.

The security camera policy changes will strengthen the obligation among city staff to report a breach of conduct.

“If there is something that they see, they do have the obligation to come forward and say ‘hey, this is something that I’ve seen’ and report a misuse of a security camera,” said Bassi-Kellett.

“Council has been clear in directing us on the review and refreshing of policies. We’ll be making sure that this is a continuous policy.”

The use of city security cameras became an issue early last year when Doug Gillard, the former manager of municipal enforcement, now manager of emergency management, was accused by former municipal enforcement officers of using city security cameras at the library to ogle women he found attractive.

Doug Gillard: Staff defend embattled bylaw manager in letter to Yellowknifer.
NNSL photo. Doug Gillard was accused of misusing city security cameras.

Gillard has never publicly commented on the allegations but a city-ordered investigation later concluded that the cameras were “more likely than not” misused.

Coun. Julian Morse questioned the strong wording in the policy update around city employees “never” breaking city rules and bylaws, stating “we all get speeding tickets every once and a while.”

“We want to make sure we uphold a very high standard of behaviour so we plan on making a full review of this, but a speeding ticket or loose dog should not be grounds for dismissal,” said Bassi-Kellett.

Council supports reconciliation

As a part of the role of the city’s Indigenous relations adviser, a document has been created on how dialogue can be facilitated between Indigenous residents, organizations and the city government.

“This is really meant to proactively start the conversation around reconciliation and what we can do … as a city to strengthen how our community honours and demonstrates respect for Indigenous people in our community,” said senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett during a committee meeting Monday.

The document will be made public once approved by council as a way to foster input from the community.

It suggests more Indigenous stories and truths be told, and having elders in residence at the public library. It also suggests sites in Yellowknife for spiritual use, such as Somba K’e park.

The paper was met with resounding support for nearly every councillor, some of whom wished to be more proactive in the creation of Indigenous-centred historical monuments in town, notably one to commemorate residential schools.

Coun. Niels Konge said he wanted Yellowknife to be one of the first capital cities in Canada to have a residential school memorial.

Mayor Rebecca Alty noted this is an initiative, Recommendation No. 82 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, and that provincial/territorial governments have been called to fund so the city would start by petitioning the territorial government.

RCMP and MED monthly updates for May

The RCMP and Municipal Enforcement Division reported on stats from the month of May to councillors on Monday.

The RCMP received 1,077 calls for services that month, including 79 assaults. Of those assaults, which is down from this time last year, 37 of them occurred downtown and 18 were family violence related.

The RCMP reported 79 patrols in the downtown core to promote greater visibility in the core, and 34 were directly assigned to the day shelter area. Seventy nine bottles of liquor were destroyed and bicycle and ATV patrols have begun within the past few weeks.

The RCMP pilot project to work with the Integrated Case Management program, a program designed to help vulnerable peoples who face barriers accessing public services in the legal system, has resulted in the RCMP identifying six candidates.

Insp. Alex Laporte noted there is still an open investigation into the shooting at Grayling Manor that left one man shot and transported to Edmonton last month.

Municipal enforcement’s Jason Card told council about the great success of the Bike Rodeo event which took place on the previous weekend.

Notably, MED has been cracking down on lapsed vehicle registration and insurance.

“We’ve had a lot of rubbish complaints as we do in spring,” Card said. “We’ve also received calls for squatters setting up tents and camping out. We’ve responded to those and had public works clean the sites up.”

Card noted that MED does not typically search for squatters on a regular basis, but responds to calls from residents.

“Whenever anyone sees a squatter camp in the city to call us so we can see if it’s on city property and get it cleaned up,” said Card.