Right here’s a query for all you Vancouver Police Board fans: Do you assume Mayor Kennedy Stewart needs to be the chairperson of the board?

Earlier than you reply that, I ought to inform you I requested Stewart the identical query after he was sworn in Dec. 6 as chairperson. His appointment, by the best way, is written into the Police Act and is a job he inherits as mayor.


In truth, all mayors of municipalities with municipal police departments—Delta and New Westminster, to call a couple of—grow to be defacto chairpersons of their respective police boards.

I’ll get to Stewart’s reply after I clarify a couple of issues.

First, my query is under no circumstances a suggestion that Stewart can’t deal with the job. I posed the identical query to then-mayor Sam Sullivan in 2008 in his closing days as mayor and chairperson of the board.

I requested the query as a result of a couple of weeks earlier than Sullivan completed his time period, the board on the time made it clear that it wished the provincial authorities to think about revising the Police Act to forestall the mayor from turning into the chairperson.


It had nothing to do with the efficiency of Sullivan or earlier mayors. It had every thing to do with what the board described as “an inherent battle” of the place of mayor. That battle was having a politician on a board whose job additionally includes approving (or reducing) budgets for the police division.

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Sullivan in 2008: “There’s a particular battle that occurs with the mayor attempting to characterize the broader price range and in addition representing the police. Definitely, I really feel the tensions frequently.”

Gregor Robertson in 2010 when he was mayor and chairperson of the board: “It makes extra sense to separate [the roles]. I agree with all of those that have referred to as for this to vary as a result of I don’t assume it’s greatest practices to have twin roles. It doesn’t make my work, in both job, any simpler to have overlap.”

The board by no means did get wherever with its request to the provincial authorities, however I’ve forgotten precisely why. I consider it was one thing to do with the association working superb, that Vancouver was the one board to complain, so no want to vary it.

Coincidentally, the identical day Stewart was sworn in as chairperson was the day the Vancouver Police Division’s price range was introduced to the board—all $294,366,398 million of it, which is a rise of three.5 per cent or $9.9 million.

The board unanimously accepted the price range.

It is going to now go earlier than metropolis council Dec. 11 for overview and be voted on Dec. 18. The mayor, in fact, can be within the council chamber to solid his vote on an total price range that metropolis workers recommends ought to include a 4.9 per cent property tax improve. A few of that improve is related to wage and profit will increase to law enforcement officials and firefighters.

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So does Stewart really feel conflicted or awkward about his position as chairperson?

Earlier than I present his reply, I need to make it clear he doesn’t vote on the police board until he has to interrupt a tie, which hardly ever occurs. However at council, he does vote, though as an impartial mayor he can’t depend on the bulk vote that Robertson might beneath the earlier Imaginative and prescient Vancouver administration.

“There could be extra concern if there was a powerful mayor system like you might have in London the place the mayor approves all the price range,” Stewart mentioned. “However this price range is accepted by 11 votes on council, and so I don’t really feel there’s an issue there for me. It’s not prefer it’s solely my determination.”

The board, by the best way, shouldn’t be elected. Stewart is the one politician of the 9 members, with the bulk appointed by the provincial authorities and one from the town. The board performs an necessary position in Vancouver, overseeing the police price range and setting coverage for the police division.

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Additionally it is answerable for hiring the police chief, who was cautious in his response to the query I posed to start this piece.

“Beforehand, beneath mayor Gregor Robertson, we had a very good relationship, we labored by way of points on the board stage and on a private stage , and thus far every thing has been nice with the brand new mayor,” mentioned Adam Palmer, whose contract extension earlier this yr will see him work with Stewart over his full four-year time period. “In the event you have a look at the historical past of the division—and I can’t communicate for all of the departments within the province—however in Vancouver, it’s really labored very effectively. We haven’t had points with it, apart from the educational debate.”

Apparently, Palmer is a member of the Transit Police Board, whose chairperson shouldn’t be a politician. It’s Mark Reder, who leads Fleishman-Hillard’s public affairs staff in Vancouver. The provincial authorities appointed Reder, Palmer and 5 different members.

Town, in the meantime, will quickly appoint one other individual to the police board to switch Carolyn Askew, who has come to the tip of her time period. Askew was a former chairperson of Imaginative and prescient Vancouver, which now not has any illustration on metropolis council.

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