Tory's plan to shuffle police board misguided, outgoing member says

Outgoing city councillor and police board member Michael Del Grande criticized mayor-elect John Tory's reported plan to replace two members of the civilian oversight body and possibly sit on the board himself.

Move would amount to 'appeasing the police,' Michael Del Grande says

John Tory said this week he was not happy about the relationship between the police board and the force. (David Donnelly/CBC)

An outgoing Toronto city councillor and police board member is critical of mayor-elect John Tory’s reported plan to replace two members and sit on the board himself, saying it would "pull the rug from under" the progress the oversight body has made recently.

The Toronto Star reported that Tory intended to remove councillors Frances Nunziata and Michael Thompson, who was the board’s vice-chair, and join the civilian watchdog himself.

The report was preempted by comments Tory made at his "state of the city" speech on Thursday.

"I am not at all satisfied with the overall state of the relationship between the police services board, the police service itself and the community," he said.

But Michael Del Grande, currently city councillor in Ward 39 and soon-to-be Toronto Catholic School Board trustee, told CBC’s Metro Morning that Tory’s planned move would undercut much of the progress the board has made in recent years.

"I’m a little dismayed simply because the present board mixed very well in trying to make progressive moves with the direction of the City of Toronto police department," he said.

"There are a number of things that are midstream and when you start to change your players you basically go back to a default position."

Del Grande cited a number of instances when the police board has clashed with the department, saying that its current members have dealt with intimidation tactics on behalf of police managers who have a "sense of entitlement" about their budget and expenses.

The current board, he said, has pushed back and managed to get things done despite resistance.

"When you pull the rug out from under this momentum … I think the message would be we’re going back to same old and we are appeasing the police," Del Grande said.

Listen to the full interview to hear more from Del Grande.