The chief financial executive at the B.C. Legislative Assembly is gone.
Sources say that Hilary Woodward was escorted from the Parliament Buildings on the morning of June 22 after a sudden meeting with Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd and replaced on a temporary basis by Randall Smith, the retired former chief financial officer of the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission.
In 2020-2021, the most-recent year available, Woodward was paid $209,748 in salary. The only higher-paid employee was Ryan-Lloyd at $281,112.
Chartered accountant Woodward had more than 25 years experience in the B.C. public sector. Prior to working at the Legislature, she was chief financial officer for the Ministry of Health from 2011 to 2013.
Woodward also worked at the Office of the Comptroller General, Treasury Board, Capital Planning Secretariat, Cabinet Operations, Shared Services B.C. and the Ministry of Citizens’ Services. In 2019, the NDP government appointed her to the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees.
Ryan-Lloyd refused to comment on the reason Woodward is no longer employed or the amount of severance.
“Due to privacy, the Legislative Assembly Administration is unable to comment on personnel matters,” Ryan-Lloyd said by email.
Woodward could not be immediately reached for comment.
Woodward was, coincidentally, the final witness at the B.C. Supreme Court fraud and breach of public trust trial of disgraced ex-clerk Craig James. Ryan-Lloyd, who was James’s protege and successor, was the first substantial witness in the trial that ended with James found guilty on two counts.
James spent almost $1,900 on a custom suit and dress shirts from luxury boutiques in London and Vancouver for personal use. He faces a July 4 sentencing hearing.
Woodward testified that she was “put in an untenable situation” to be asked to sign-off James’s expenses.
“I would say that was the most challenging portion of my job was dealing with the travel claims and expenses that came through,” Woodward told the court.
Woodward led special prosecutors to boxes of more evidence at the Legislature before last Christmas. She arrived in Vancouver to testify in mid-February with a suitcase of more documents.
The $92-million-a-year Legislature is not covered by the freedom of information law, but an all-party committee that reviews the law once every six years recently recommended the NDP government extend the law to cover the Legislature’s operations.
The all-party Legislative Assembly Management Committee last met March 30. Its next meeting is June 29.