Editor’s note: Mike Travill, the workers’ advocate, was suspended from his job last week. He stands accused of padding his hours while he participated in the Workers’ Compensation Act review.
His suspension comes shortly after Justice officials were prevented from appointing a supervisory position above Travill, a post that mirrored his duties.
Travill denies the hour-padding accusations leveled against him by the Public Service Commission.
He has provided a log of hours worked over the last five years to the commission. It rejected his summary. E-mails corroborating his hours have, mysteriously, disappeared from his work computer.
Some allege Travill’s suspension was politically motivated –recently he won several court cases against the Justice department on behalf of employees, and served as the Liberal Party’s campaign manager in the last territorial election.
New Democrat leader Todd Hardy has dismissed claims his firing was politically motivated. However, Travill left the New Democratic Party for the Liberals in a dispute over Hardy’s stewardship of the party.
With that background, what follows is a letter from Travill’s ex wife about his firing.
For the public record: I have no respect for, nor do I like Michael Travill.
I have just come out of a bitter, three-year divorce with him.
The reason I feel compelled to write in his defence is that I believe it is my duty, in the name of democracy, to do so.
If I am able to separate personal from politics, I think NDP leader Todd Hardy should be able to do so as well.
Also, I do not believe Travill would speak publicly in my defence if the circumstances were turned.
But that is what separated Travill and me in the first place … we have very different value systems.
Travill was married to me during the period in question.
Travill worked seven days a week.
Every evening he brought home stacks of files. We were continually engaged in the same argument about his lack of involvement in our family due to his excessive workload.
I believe his firing is politically motivated.
This is what happens in Third World republics and wherever the government is able to exercise too much control without accountability for its actions.
The government appointed Travill to the act review panel in 2002. It is now 2007.
Could someone in government please explain why this is only being perceived as a conflict of interest now?
Travill did document the time he spent on the review panel.
Whether the government wants to accept his diary should raise some questions.
I can assure the general public that he worked as much as he claimed, and more.
Wherever we went, Travill’s work came with him.
If Travill’s superiors questioned his work hours five years ago, within a reasonable time frame, he would be in a better position to defend the details of his work.
No annual reviews, no requests for information, no concern… nothing.
How does one prove interference?
How does one prove their innocence when the files that could exonerate you are corrupted or lost?
So whose head should roll?
This is not an example of fear mongering. This is an example of the exploitation and oppressiveness of government power that creates a culture of silence and conformity.
This is what dictatorships are made of.
I disagree with you, Hardy.
Travill should have access to his work files.
I think because Travill crossed to the Liberals from your party you should try to be more objective about what is going on here.
If I am able to separate politics from personal why can’t you?
Hardy, surely you can appreciate that the ‘loyalty issue’ or should we say the lack of loyalty on Travill’s behalf does not, or should not, influence his right to freedom of expression, political freedom and freedom of speech in our democratic country.
I applaud Laurie Butterworth and Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell; it is not difficult to defend someone when the entire population is behind them.
Travill has made many political enemies, but he has also helped many people.
That is what I appreciated about his advocacy…that he indeed organized a resistance and assisted many people whose lives were desperate and isolated.