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Liberal appointee axes second in command at Elections BC

The acting head of Elections British Columbia has eliminated the deputy chief electoral officer's position.

“I was told the acting chief electoral officer is reorganizing Elections B.C. and my position as deputy chief electoral officer was eliminated,” said Linda Johnson, reached at home. Johnson had been with the organization for 28 years, the last 19 of them as deputy CEO.

Staff at the agency learned about the change yesterday.

The position is the second most senior at the independent, non-partisan office that oversees elections and referenda in the province. In August Elections B.C. certified the success of the petition to repeal the harmonized sales tax.

The position is defined in the Elections Act and has all the same powers and authority as the CEO, with the exception of making regulations, said Johnson.

The acting CEO, Craig James, is away at a conference and will be unavailable until Sept. 20, said Elections B.C. spokesperson Don Main.

James replaced the outgoing CEO Harry Neufeld in June. He was appointed by the Liberal government until an all-party committee can find a permanent CEO.

Losing its two most senior officials in three months is significant, said Johnson. “It's bound to change things in the organization,” she said.

The organization is strong enough to withstand the change, however, she said. “It's a place I was really proud to work for.”

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

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