Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay police board administrator's term extended until March 2024

The Thunder Bay Police Services Board will continue to be overseen by an administrator for at least another year.

Ontario Civilian Police Commission announced extension on Thursday

A seated man with white-grey hair and facial hair, wearing a suit, smiles at the camera from behind a microphone.
Malcolm Mercer is the administrator of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board. (Sarah Law/CBC)

The Thunder Bay Police Services Board (TBPSB) will continue to be overseen by an administrator for at least another year.

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) announced Thursday it has extended the term of board administrator Malcolm Mercer until March 31, 2024.

The OCPC said the decision came after reviewing an August report by Mercer, as well as a report by an independent expert panel, which "led the OCPC to believe that an emergency continues to exist in the TBPSB oversight" of the Thunder Bay Police Service.

"Mr. Mercer will remain in his position as administrator to oversee the orderly transition to new leadership on the TBPSB and TBPS and to ensure good governance at both the TBPSB and TBPS level," the OCPC stated. "Mr. Mercer should soon be in a position to transition to an observer role to ensure progress is being made on implementing the recommendations that were made as a result of the investigation into the TBPSB led by Senator Murray Sinclair."

Mercer's term, however, may be cancelled before March 31, 2024, or extended further, if necessary, the OCPC said.

Denise Baxter, a city appointee to the board who was sworn in during the February meeting, said the extension of Mercer's term is good news.

"I have already been working with the administrator since last August, when I was invited to sit on the Community Governance Committee," she said, adding she's found Mercer "very, very easy to work with, very thoughtful."

Currently, Baxter said, as administrator, Mercer is the board's only voting member (in addition to Baxter, city Mayor Ken Boshcoff, Coun. Shelby Ch'ng, and provincial appointee Karen Machado sit on the board).

"What he has been doing is, from my point of view, anyway, as a new board member, he's been really working with us to make sure that we're getting our training underway, that we're understanding the governance role in particular," Baxter said.

There is one empty board seat, which will be taken up by another provincial appointee. However, there's no timeline on when that appointment will be announced.