Mayor Williams loses bid to return as Police Services Board chair

February 9, 2017   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville now has a permanent chair of the Police Services Board (OPSB).

Acting board chair Ken Krakar was elected as the lead via nomination by fellow Police Board member Anne Welwood, who offered two reasons as to why she felt Mr. Krakar would be the right person be Chair.

She stated that it was “important to rotate the chair” and she felt that the board “needed a third strong voice” within the town.

The decision to put Mr. Krakar forth as Chair was not quite unanimous. All voted in favour with the exception of the former Board chair, Mayor Jeremy Williams who shared, “I am sorry Ken, I will vote no.”

Recently, Mayor Williams made it public that he would like to be reinstated as Chair of the OPSB. In news articles previously published, Mayor Williams was quoted as stating, “In actual fact, I am the chair.”

The mayor was removed from the lead position in mid-2016 after inconsistencies were reported in his expense  filings. The Peel Police investigated and eventually the matter was dropped with no charges laid.

The Mayor has endured some controversy during his time on the Police Services Board.

In the Spring of 2016, he did not recognize the board’s decision to make Mr. Krakar acting chair on grounds the motion was not voted on. But according to Police Board meeting minutes, the board did put forth a motion in the May 10th meeting as follows: “Because of the perception in the community as a result of the Peel Regional Police investigation, the Board requests that you voluntarily resign as Chair of the Orangeville Police Services Board and member of the negotiation committee.“ This motion was carried. Later in the same meeting, a friendly amendment was put forth by Ken Krakar that enabled the removal of the wording “and the negotiation committee.” This process was again revisited at the June 21st PSB meeting, but after much discussion it was agreed by the board that the motion would remain as is. Since then, the board has received legal advice that their process was indeed correct and Mr. Krakar would remain as the acting chair.

There have been some contradictions around the attendance of the mayor at out-of-town conferences. At the June 21 meeting, Mayor Williams advised that he was annoyed that his hotel reservation for the May 2016 Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB) Spring Conference in Niagara Falls had been cancelled. One month later, the July 19 meeting minutes show that Ms. Welwood asked if the Police Secretary had followed up with the hotel to see why the Mayor’s reservation was cancelled. The Secretary advised that she had followed up and was informed by the hotel that the reservation was not cancelled – instead no guest had showed up to the hotel.

Ms. Welwood went on to share that she “was concerned that members are not being frank with the Board. If a member is busy and has to cancel that is fine, but giving misinformation to the Board is not helpful.”

Lastly, during the August 23 meeting, Mayor Williams advised the Board he wanted to clarify the hotel room matter in the minutes. The room wasn’t cancelled. He didn’t have an opportunity to pay for the room and the second time he went down to reception, the room had been released.

As well, the Mayor’s poor attendance cost him his position on the Orangeville Police contract negotiation committee. At the July 19th PSB meeting Ms. Welwood put forth the following motion: “Given that the mayor has missed the last four out of five negotiation meetings and given the importance of contract negotiations being carried forward with a full committee without delay, (I recommend) the mayor be removed from the Negotiating Committee.”

In an interesting twist the PSB negotiating committee found that the mayor was in New York City during one of its meetings. They found this information via his posting on his personal Instagram account. No explanation regarding his absence was ever given to the board.

Despite the issues endured by Mayor Williams while Chair, on February 1st,  he said he had concerns about voting for Ken Krakar as Chair.  “This is not to be perceived as against you,” he said, but added that in the past the PSB and the Orangeville Police Association “did not get along. Things can go back to an adversarial relationship. We have to work together if this is to not occur.”

Councillor Gail Campbell disagreed with the Mayor’s concerns, “I support our Chair, we act in good faith. I believe we have demonstrated that we have no interest in going backwards.”

The meeting did end in a positive fashion, with Mr. Krakar, praising the work of Chief Kalinski and his staff by stating, “You are doing an amazing job.” While the board would “keep mindful that we represent the taxpayers,” he predicted, “The Service will be community-focused and world-class”.

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