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Thunder Bay Police to hire second deputy chief

The second deputy chief, as recommended by former senator Murray Sinclair’s report into the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, will focus primarily on administrative and human resource tasks

THUNDER BAY -- The Thunder Bay Police Service is currently seeking applicants for a second deputy chief of police, which was one of the recommendations handed down in former senator Murray Sinclair’s report.

The recommendation originally called for a second deputy chief to focus on rebuilding the relationship with the Indigenous community, but Thunder Bay Police Services Board chair Karen Machado said it was agreed that role should be the responsibility of Chief Darcy Fleury.

“I think it’s all about workload. The specific recommendation dealt with Indigenous populations and their focus being that,” Machado said.

“The chief determined he felt that function, Indigenous community and relationship building, would be best in his role as the chief. That was supported by the board because if commitment and direction starts at the top you have a more successful role.”

The new deputy chief will be responsible for administrative and human resources duties, Machado said, which was supported by Fleury and the governance committee.

“We had discussions with the chief of what that structure would look like. It was determined it would be a deputy of administration to focus more on some of the bigger things and take some items off of the chief’s board,” Machado said.

During the Thunder Bay Police Services Board meeting on Tuesday, the board heard the police service had an unfavourable variance of $2.8 million for the 2023 operating budget.

The net operating expenses as of Dec. 31, 2023 amounted to $55 million compared to the net operating budget for the year of $52.2 million.  

Personnel expenses account for more than 90 per cent of the police service’s operating budget and the unfavourable variance was related primarily to overtime and WSIB expenses.

Fleury said he is looking into ways to lower personnel expenses going forward, including the current number of employees who are off on WSIB and seeing what can be done to get them back to work.

“It’s all about making sure they are safe, healthy, and anything we can do to accommodate bringing them back to the office,” Fleury said.

“That is one of the things we really want to look at and focus on this year.”

Fleury added he will also be looking at finding ways to manage additional costs, including overtime and hiring.   

“We did have some conversation with the board and city on some of the structures we have,” Fleury said.

“We are in the process right now for a second deputy. We are seeking candidates. That will have a bit of an impact. We do have some other areas we still want to work towards on our structure, such as looking at more people to support our financial department and human resources department.”

The hiring of a second deputy chief was already included in the police services budget approved by city council earlier this year.

Machado said the new deputy chief’s role focusing on administration and human resources will hopefully bring more efficiencies into the service and potentially cost savings.

“Their focus will be administration and human resources, so we can better focus on the WSIB, overtime, those human resources matters,” she said. “That will bring greater focus and hopefully develop strategies to address those.”

The hiring process for the second deputy chief has already begun. A long list and short list of candidates will be determined in the coming months. The position is open to internal candidates within the police service and external candidates.  

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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