By RTH Staff
Published May 03, 2013
Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla has presented councillors with a notice of motion asking the Province to give Council the power either to take direct control of the Police Services Board or to appoint the Board members.
The motion marshals clear arguments about the size of the police budget and Council's mandate to safeguard the public purse, coupled with with examples of other municipalities in Canada - like Quebec City, Frederickton and Charlottetown - that have more control over their police budgets.
It draws an analogy to other boards, like the Board of Health, that are composed entirely of councillors and report to Council.
It also cites municipalities whose Police Boards are composed of councillors and citizens who are appointed by Council - Edmonton, Regina and St. John.
The motion calls on the province to "respect" the "maturity and sense of responsibility" of the City of Hamilton that is implied by its amalgamation with the municipalities of the former Region of Hamilton-Wentworth.
Following is the text of the motion:
Notice of Motion
Council Date: May 8, 2013
MOVED BY COUNCILLOR S. MERULLA
HAMILTON POLICE SERVICE BOARD GOVERNANCE
WHEREAS under the Police Services Act, the City of Hamilton is mandated to provide for adequate and effective police services;
AND WHEREAS the standards for Police operations and Police behaviour are established by the Province, and there are legislative protections ensuring oversight by the Province and recourse to Ontario Police Services Commission;
AND WHEREAS the Police Services budget constitutes a significant component of the City's annual operating budget, for which the public holds Hamilton City Council accountable;
AND WHEREAS following the model used for public health and emergency services (fire and ambulance), Hamilton City Council believes that the governance of the Police Service Hamilton should align to more accurately reflect this accountability;
AND WHEREAS under the current statutory regime, the Hamilton Police Service is governed by a 7-member Police Services Board comprised 3 members of Council, one Council-appointed citizen, and 3 Provincially-appointed citizens;
AND WHEREAS Council believes that a change in the governance of the Police Service is fair, appropriate, accountable and transparent;
AND WHEREAS Council accepts and supports the key principles for Police Service governance; namely accountability and independence; in particular, accountability, financially, and operationally to the citizens served, and independence in the carrying out of law enforcement;
AND WHEREAS Council supports a model where the Hamilton Police Service is governed directly by Council, as is the case with a number of Cities in Canada such as Quebec City, Quebec; Fredericton, New Brunswick; and, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island;
AND WHEREAS Council could, alternatively, support a model where the Police Services Board is comprised exclusively of members of Council (like the Hamilton Board of Health) or, alternatively, some combination of Councillors and citizens appointed by City Council, as is the case with several Cities in Canada such as with the Edmonton, Alberta Police Commission (9 Commissioners, all appointed by City Council; a combination of Councillors and citizens); the Regina, Saskatchewan Board of Police Commissioners (5 Commissioners all appointed by City Council; a combination of Councillors and citizens); and, the St. John, New Brunswick Board of Police Commissioners (7 Commissioners; 6 appointed by Council and a combination of Councillors and citizens and 1 by the Province, a citizen);
AND WHEREAS governance directly by Council or by a Police Services Board comprised of members of Council and/or citizens appointed by Council must, according to law, abide by and not interfere with the principle of independence for the Police Service in terms of law enforcement;
AND WHEREAS in terms of accountability, both financially and operationally, a Police Service should be prepared to answer to Council and to the community in that there are protections for the Police Service beyond a municipal council; namely to the Province and its Ontario Police Services Commission such that any direct governance by City Council or indirect governance by a Police Services Board comprised of members of Council and/or citizens appointed by Council would itself still have oversight from the Province;
AND WHEREAS the amalgamation of the municipalities in the former Region of Hamilton-Wentworth into one City of Hamilton was in part recognition of the maturity and commitment to responsibility that an amalgamated City would have through its City Council;
AND WHEREAS the Province should respect that maturity and sense of responsibility, and allow City Council to provide governance to the Police Service directly through Council or by way of a Police Services Board made up entirely of Council-appointed citizens, or a combination thereof, with such governance to be pursuant to the principles of accountability and independence and pursuant to any provincial regulations regarding the financing and operation of a Police Service.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
(a) That the Province of Ontario be requested to amend the Municipal Act and/or the Police Services Act, and/or enact special legislation to either:
(i) Enable the Hamilton Police Services Board to be governed directly by Hamilton City Council, or
(ii) Enable the Hamilton Police Services Board to be appointed by Council and comprised entirely of City Councillors, or a combination of Councillors and citizens, as Council may determine;
(b) That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Hamilton Police Chief and the Hamilton Police Service, assuring them that City Council will continue to respect and strongly support the Police Service under any form of governance, including abiding by the key principle of independence in law enforcement.
(c) That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Premier, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur for consideration.
(d) That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Leader of the Opposition, Tim Hudak, the Leader of the NDP, Andrea Horwath, all Hamilton area M.P.P.s, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) seeking their endorsement.
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