Saint John should drop move to consider RCMP, says city manager
Population too big and cost to pension too high, Pat Woods states in report
Saint John City Manager Pat Woods is recommending common council drop the idea of studying how much it would cost to replace the Saint John Police Force with the RCMP.
The city is ineligible because it has a population of more than 15,000, Woods concluded after discussions with both the provincial and federal governments.
There would also be a significant financial liability removing police force members from the city's new shared-risk pension plan, Woods states in a report set to come before council on Monday night.
The new plan, approved in 2012, reduced the city's pension deficit and gave taxpayers more time to pay down the rest. The city's pension deficit had been estimated at $195 million.
But a changeover to the RCMP could require the police portion of the plan to be fully funded before being wound down. Police officers and 911 operators represent about 25 per cent of the plan's members.
Deputy Mayor Shelley Rinehart, who voted against the motion earlier this month to cost compare the two forces, says in her mind, the matter is now closed.
"There were some expectations or concerns raised among the citizens regarding their police department and certainly, you know, if you’re the employee group whose jobs are potentially being threatened, that certainly has an impact on morale," she said.
"And I don’t think we can close our eyes to the fact that there has been some impacts, but it’s work and we need to move past this."
Rinehart says council needs to use the service-based budget it developed to look for savings in its own operations.