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NDP requests explanation for Elections BC shuffle

Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog has written to acting chief electoral officer Craig James asking for an explanation of the recent restructuring at Elections B.C..

The Tyee reported last week that James, who was appointed by the government in June on an interim basis until an all-party legislative committee can decide on a permanent chief electoral officer, announced a restructuring that eliminated the deputy chief electoral officer position.

Linda Johnson, who had held the position for 19 years and who had been with the agency that oversees provincial elections for 28 years, lost her job as part of the restructuring.

“Obviously this represents a significant change to the staff structure at Elections B.C., occurring at a time when the office is under significant public scrutiny because of the HST initiative and with potential changes to the supervision of municipal elections on the horizon,” wrote Krog in the Sept. 10 letter.

“The Official Opposition is very concerned that these changes are being made pending an appointment of a new Chief Electoral Officer,” he wrote, adding that he understands James does not intend to seek the permanent position. “Given that the process of selecting a new Chief Electoral Officer is still underway, I would like to respectfully request that you provide the rationale for the decision to eliminate the position of Deputy Chief Electoral Officer.”

Krog also asked to whom James is delegating the authority to exercise powers and duties now that there is no deputy. He noted the agency which “has a significant very high public profile and is extremely important to the integrity of our system” has lost its two most senior officials in the last three months.

James is away at a conference until Sept. 20 and unavailable.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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