The Ottawa Police Services Board has put off the scheduled election of a new chair at a special meeting called for Friday morning.
Minutes after the meeting began, interim chair Suzanne Valiquet said the election had to be postponed “due to unforeseeable circumstances.” She did not explain them further.
The board then moved in-camera to discuss a confidential personnel matter that was also on the meeting agenda, which had been publicly announced Thursday night.
The board’s members also include Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, city councillors Cathy Curry and Marty Carr, and Michael Doucet, Salim Fakirani and Peter Henschel. Curry was not present Friday, board staff said at the meeting, which was held virtually by Zoom and live streamed on YouTube.
It’s been a year of upheaval for the Ottawa Police Services Board in the wake of the three-week “Freedom Convoy” protests last winter.
Chief Peter Sloly left the force Feb. 15, a day after the federal government invoked the Emergency Act to end the protests, and longtime city councillor Diane Deans was ousted as chair of the police services board 24 hours later.
On Nov. 29, Sutcliffe and Ottawa ‘s new police Chief Eric Stubbs were confronted at their first police services board meeting by local activists who disrupted the proceedings with what they called an act of civil disobedience.
The seven-member civilian body overseeing the Ottawa Police Service includes three city council representatives, one citizen appointed by city council and three provincial appointees.
Its roles include hiring and assessing the performance of the city’s police chief, setting overall objectives and priorities for policing in consultation with the chief, approving the service’s annual budget and preparing a business plan every three years.
-with files from Aedan Helmer and Andrew Duffy