Lloyd Ferguson is the new man at the helm of the board that oversees Hamilton’s police service. On his agenda: finding a new police chief.
The Ancaster councillor says one of his goals this year is to find a replacement for Chief Glenn De Caire, who announced he would retire at the end of 2014.
“We have to get underway with the recruitment of a chief,” he said after Tuesday’s police services board meeting.
When combining that with other issues facing Hamilton Police Service, “it’s a big year for us,” he said.
De Caire’s contract was set to end on Dec. 31, 2014. Shortly after a performance review, the chief announced in September that he would not seek an extension. He has been chief since November 2009. Prior to that, he was a police superintendent in Toronto.
Police services board members debated in December whether to accept his resignation. “He did a lot of good things for the city, so some people wanted us to convince him to take his resignation back,” Ferguson said, stressing at the time that he was not speaking for the board.
As chair, Ferguson can speak for the board this year.
He’s also looking forward to shepherding a new budget through, he said. This year’s draft operating budget is a 2.98-per cent increase over 2013. Last year, the initial budget increase was more than five per cent, and was trimmed three times as the board butt heads with council.
Ferguson takes the chair from Coun. Bernie Morelli, who died last week. The board meeting started with a moment of silence.
The board voted to rotate the vice-chair position amongst the board members, with the vice chair changing every two months.
Ferguson joined the board under unusual circumstances that went as follows:
- Council appointed Ferguson last year to be a temporary replacement for Coun. Terry Whitehead, who was under investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. (Whitehead is back on the board now.)
- The city and service wrangled over whether Ferguson's appointment was legal, including the use of the word "unlawful."
- Ferguson officially became a member.
- When Mayor Bob Bratina stepped down, Ferguson became a permanent member.
With Morelli's death, the board is once again short a council appointee.