The announcement that Chief Bryan Larkin of the Guelph Police Service (GPS) is decamping for Waterloo presents an opportunity for a change for the better.
Any candidates considered as a new chief must have his/her contract include a binding clause not to push for a new or extensively renovated GPS building.
The “come to Jesus” clause should include termination with cause for insubordination if the new chief tries an end run around the city by appealing directly to the province for funding.
The $34-million blessed by council for renovations to the existing facility must be withdrawn from any budget considerations. Given the track record for cost overruns, combined with council’s lack of openness and transparency with projects and their financial impacts, the figure is likely to hit $50 million, which Guelph cannot afford.
Any discussions with a potential new GPS chief must include the amalgamation of the GPS with Fire and Ambulance services of the support functions including, but not limited to, human resources, finance and purchasing, as well as GPS use of the Clair Road facility.
If the current council doesn’t have the backbone to call for a “RESET,” then an interim chief should be appointed with the decision on a new chief and facility being handled by the new council after the October elections.
Hopefully, the new council will have a majority of members with business experience, the lack of which has been lamented by at least one long-term councillor, and be devoid of the current cohort’s tax-and-spend mentality.
Glen N. Tolhurst