Coun. Diane Deans is chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board.
Tony Caldwell / Postmedia
The Ottawa police board will hold a nationwide search for the city’s next police chief.Board Chair Coun. Diane Deans made the announcement at Monday’s police board meeting. In addition to holding a national competition to find the city’s next top cop, the board will also hold a Canada-wide search for the force’s next director general — the service’s top civilian position.Current Chief Charles Bordeleau is retiring from the service when his contract is up on May 4. Current Director General Debra Frazer is also retiring, effective April 30. The searches for both positions will be run at the same time.The board will also be meeting with executive search firms that have a history of recruiting chiefs.The board has not yet posted the job opening, which typically lays out its wish-list of qualities and skills. Deans said the board will conduct public consultations to hear what average citizens want from their next police chief.The open competition means that any internal candidates — namely the two deputy chiefs — would be vying for the job against candidates who may have once worked for the service, or others currently working at other police forces.The board also approved the force’s 2019 draft budget, but only after much additional work from police staff.The force had previously tabled a budget that came in at the three per cent cap on the tax-rate increase set by Mayor Jim Watson, but only with what was a controversial $4.8-million request for funding from the city’s reserves. Watson quickly halved that request, with the police board also telling Bordeleau to come up with a list of budget options to reduce costs.Bordeleau presented those options to the board’s finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday. Those initial options — which would have no impact to front-line operations — saw the force make more money on collision reporting centres, cap its overtime budget, factor in some “new information” on the costs of salaries and fuel, and defer a list of $400,000 in expenses to 2020.That plan met was initially met with resistance from board members.The revised plan, presented Monday, did away with any increase on the expected revenue from the collision reporting centres (which have consistently raked in less revenue than anticipated) and instead found savings by reducing the force’s planned contribution to its fleet and general reserve fund. The force is also now planning to put forward a new model on how it charges any organization looking to hire police for private events, which would include all city contracts for “paid duty.” The new model is aimed at recovering all police costs, which would give the force another $400,000 in revenue for the year. The City of Ottawa or for-profit clients hiring cops would see their fees increase by 15 per cent.That proposal was actually tabled to the board by the force last fall, Bordeleau said. The previous board wasn’t interested but a new board full of fresh faces wanted to explore it.Coun. Keith Egli, who was vocal about his opposition to the first two formulated draft budgets, thanked the service for “rolling up your sleeves and sharpening your pencils.”Board Chair Deans said she is satisfied that frontline policing will not be affected but that the service is presenting a lean budget that will serve the community well.Monday’s meeting was also the first for new provincially appointed member Daljit Nirman.Nirman is a former adjunct professor of law who is a board member of the Ottawa Community Immigrant Service Organization. He is also an adviser to the Indo-Canadian Community Centre and the Ottawa Sikh Society.His term is scheduled to last three years.
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