Not because he’s Black – McCormack

‘No confidence’ vote in Police Chief Saunders

Yesterday was Voting Day for members of the Toronto Police Association.

And up to press time  last night (Wednesday night), members of  the Association were still voting online on  whether they have confidence in Police Chief Mark Saunders.

The Association headed by Mike McCormack, had launched a “no-confidence”  vote  against Saunders which McCormack said was the chief’s last opportunity to address its concerns about cost-cutting changes within the Toronto Police.

Deadline for voting  which was done electronically, was midnight.

Members of  the Association had the option to cast a vote of “no confidence” or abstain from voting.

As McCormack explained, the vote was intended to collect “quantitative” evidence  of  the Association’s  lack of support for Saunders.

However, even if  the majority of the members of the Association say they  have lost confidence  in Saunders’ ability to address  their concerns, the vote is  non-binding and  cannot result in his removal  as Chief of Police.

Saunders is hired and employed by the Toronto Police Services Board.

In Toronto’s Black community  there have been concerns  about the “real reason” for calling the vote of no-confidence.

McCormack has vehemently denied that  it was because Saunders is Black.

“It  has  nothing to do with that.It has  nothing  to do with racism,” he told the Caribbean Camera  in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Asked  about the “no confidence” vote, Kenneth Jeffers,  the  only Black member  of the Toronto Police Services Board  told the Caribbean  Camera that he was  ” deeply concerned and disturbed about the unfair targeting of Chief Saunders by McCormack’s apparent misguided or deliberate accusation of the Chief for the decision of budget allocation which is the responsibility of the Police Services Board represented by the Chair Andy Pringle.

” This public criticism of the first Black Chief without ongoing prior discussions with the Chair of the Board may be unprecedented.  McCormack is fully aware of the responsibility and legislated accountably of the Board and ultimately City Council for budget approval.

” Why single out Chief Saunders in this manner, particularly since he is on record exulting his approval and support of a chief who rose in the ranks and therefore would support and work for the interest of the rank and file as well as the Toronto community?”

Last January Saunders said that the police service was looking at strategic hiring to address an  attrition rate that was higher than expected. He pointed out that instead of hiring more officers, the

focus is on ” putting the  right resources in  the right places.”

(See editorial )