A short list of candidates to replace Chief Bill Blair has been compiled and will be considered by members of the Toronto Police Services Board, officials say.
Toronto recruitment firm Odgens and Berndtson was hired by the City last month to conduct a “national and international” search for candidates for the job.
The top contenders will be contacted for interviews and a selection of a new chief will be made early next month. Blair is set to leave office on April 25.
Board officials have imposed a media blackout and refuse to speak of the selection process or who was being considered for the job.
Few details are being released but it is believed that Deputy Chiefs Peter Sloly and Mark Saunders are among those vying to become the City’s top cop.
Names also bandied about include Hamilton Police Service Chief Glenn DeCaire and Jeff McGuire, Chief of Niagara Regional Police.
The Board, in a meeting on March 19, was also expected to hear from Blair on the implementation of a long-awaited Community Contacts Policy. The issue was postponed at two previous meetings.
Local groups planned to protest outside police headquarters on College St., as the Board meeting was being held.
Blair, who has been Chief for 10 years, is leaving in a cloud of controversy over his handling of protesters during the G20 Summit and failure to adopt the policy that was approved by the Board after widespread allegations of racial profiling and carding by police against members of the Black community.
Councillor Michael Thompson, a former police Board member, blasted the Chief for his failure to “follow instructions and implement a no-carding policy.
“He (Blair) is dragging his feet on the issue,” Thompson told Share. “There is a lack of accountability and it appears as if he doesn’t want to settle the issue.”
He said if Blair has issues with the policy it should be taken to the Board for discussion.
“The Board has to take action,” said Thompson. “The Chief has to explain why he refuses to act on the policy.”
He noted it was an act of “insubordination if the Chief does not want to implement this policy”.
Thompson believes Blair doesn’t want to be remembered as the Chief who changed policing in Toronto.
“This is still seen as a negative for policing,” he said. “He doesn’t want to be seen as the Chief who introduced the anti-carding policy.”
The policy is also opposed by the Toronto Police Association.
Thompson, who is chair of the City’s Economic Development and Culture Committee and Invest Toronto, will visit Austin, Texas with Mayor John Tory to drum up business and try and bring the South by Southwest music festival to Toronto.
Kingsley Gilliam, of the Black Action Defense Committee, said the community is suffering and MPPs at Queen’s Park may have to get involved.
Gilliam said Premier Kathleen Wynne may have to step in to provide “guidelines on the responsibilities of the Board over its employees.
“It may come to a show-down as to who is the boss,” Gilliam told Share. “We may have to get the government to make changes to the Police Services Act of Ontario that governs these rules.”
He said the policy is already set by the Board for an incoming Chief to implement.
“Whoever is selected as Chief will have no choice but to implement this policy,” said Gilliam. “The policy is already there in place.”
Blair earns about $370,000 yearly and was appointed chief in 2005. He had expected his five-year contract to be renewed for a third time by the Board.