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OCPC expands Thunder Bay police administrator’s powers

Amended order from civilian oversight body will give outside administrator full power to act without police services board after resignations.
Malcolm Mercer, appointed as administrator of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, can now make decisions without the board's involvement.

THUNDER BAY – An outside administrator appointed to oversee the Thunder Bay Police Service has been armed with expanded powers to make decisions without the involvement of the local police services board.

Administrator Malcolm Mercer was granted the new powers in an order by Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) chair Sean Weir, which was issued Tuesday and announced Wednesday by Tribunals Ontario.

Mercer was appointed earlier this month, after an initial investigation by the OCPC concluded dysfunction within the Thunder Bay Police Services Board had become an "emergency" that rendered it incapable of properly governing the police force.

The amendments to the OCPC's original April 19 order come after more than half of the police services board resigned last week in protest of Mercer's appointment, while defending the board's record.

Under the terms of the previous order, Mercer was granted sole decision-making power on behalf of the board, but could not exercise that power without calling a meeting of the board.

The resignation of three of the board’s five members called into question his ability to fulfill his duties, since meetings cannot be held without a majority of members present.

The amendments make it clear Mercer can make binding decisions on behalf of the board at meetings where quorum has not been achieved, and in the time between board meetings.


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