Only two city councillors have responded to a letter from the London Police Association calling for a probe into this year’s budget battle between the London Police Services Board and City Hall.
Specifically, the police union wants the Ontario Civilian Police Commission to investigate whether Mayor Matt Brown impeded the process when a settlement offer was made by the police services board earlier this year.
Last week the police association sent a letter to every member of London City Council, but so far only councillors Stephen Turner and Michael Van Holst have responded, and neither support such a probe.
“It was from the Budget Chair Paul Paolatto who asked for an investigation into the circumstances that resulted in their potential budget compromise not reaching city council,” said association president Rick Robson.
Robson, who has already called on Brown to step down from the police services board, said all they’re doing is suggesting it should be the OCPC that conducts the investigation.
Originally it was the police services board that called for the investigation, but at the time of the vote they were unsure of who should lead it. Robson said in the association’s opinion, the OCPC should conduct the investigation.
Earlier this month the police services board and city council worked out a compromise, ending the months-long budget battle. The deal, which saw council give police $2.7 million to hire six new officers over the next three years was about $1 million more than the offer made earlier this year to city hall that councillors were ever informed of.
Brown has admitted he knew about the offer but said he’d been asked to “champion” the offer, something he refused to do.
Robson said if councillors want the issue to go away, they should support the investigation.
“To me the cleanest position, or the cleanest way to move this forward is to have city council make the request to have OCPC come in.”
According to the Police Services Act there are specific mechanisms that can trigger an investigation of a police services board or member. The police association can’t request an investigation, but council can, hence the letter sent to all councillors.