He submitted his retirement notice in the fall, but Chief Glenn De Caire says he doesn’t want to leave the Hamilton Police Service after all.
De Caire submitted a letter to the police services board on Wednesday morning rescinding his retirement.
“I have listened and I have taken counsel from many members of the community,” De Caire said on the Bill Kelly Show on CHML Wednesday morning.
“I will offer my services to the board.”
'There's been tons of speculation, but my commitment to Hamilton always been demonstrated by my work, and nothing has changed here at all.'- Chief Glenn De Caire
De Caire’s contract ends in December 2014. In September, he publicly announced he wouldn’t seek an extension. The board has already spent about $20,000 looking for a new chief.
De Caire has been chief since November 2009, arriving from Toronto, where he served as a staff superintendent. His retirement notice came on the heels of a performance review last year.
The year was a tumultuous one between De Caire and city hall. Council asked him three times to trim the budget, and Coun. Terry Whitehead was placed on leave from the police services board after a private and public clash with De Caire. Whitehead has since returned.
In announcing his decision Wednesday morning, De Caire cited a recent community movement to get him to stay, a movement that has included a handful of well-known business names in Hamilton. His supporters cite a 19-per cent reduction in violent crime in 2012, and a decrease in robberies, he said.
“I have listened to the citizens and, literally, so many people have asked me to find a way to stay because they like what our people are doing,” he said.
Speculation around his retirement has been rampant. Among the rumours: that De Caire made an unsuccessful bid for another policing job, or that he was calling city hall's bluff during a time when his leadership was under scrutiny.
But De Caire insists his decision to rescind his retirement was "cumulative over the last 10 months."
"There's been tons of speculation, but my commitment to Hamilton always been demonstrated by my work, and nothing has changed here at all," he told CBC Hamilton. "I love the city and love the organization."
The board will deal with De Caire’s letter in an in-camera session Monday. The closed-door debate in the fall over his resignation was heated, with members voting 4-3 to accept his retirement.
Whitehead is open to considering the letter. Until now, the board hasn't been in a position to ask the chief to stay, he said.
"It would have to be pretty compelling an argument," he said. But Wednesday's letter is "a start."
The board has budgeted $80,000 for a consultant to help find a chief and deputy chief. So far, the board has spent about $20,000 to find a new chief and $10,000 on the deputy search, Coun. Chad Collins said.
The process doesn't look good to the general public, but like staffing senior positions happens "on the golf course," Collins said. He plans to try to incorporate hiring practices into a lobbyist registry that will come to council next week.