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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sue Ann Levy: Michael Thompson fights to vote on Chief Bill Blair's future

...three pro-Chief Bill Blair members of the Police Services Board are refusing to drop the Code of Conduct complaint against colleague and board vice-chairman Michael Thompson, forcing a costly court action later this month, the Toronto Sun has learned.
And sources close to the internal squabble between those likely in favour of renewing Blair’s contract and those not, say this is all about trying to muzzle Thompson from speaking openly about the chief and his leadership of the force.
Thompson hired the Ruby, Shiller, Chan and Hasan law firm March 11 to seek a judicial review of the board’s decision to silence thim from speaking about Blair...
...It all goes back to Feb. 12 when Thompson dared to comment publicly about the high cost of policing in this city. Blair’s refusal to trim the budget, despite requests to do so, prompted Thompson to say he wouldn’t support the renewal of Blair’s contract.
In a series of events that would be ripe for a Franz Kafka play or novel, board members Dr. Dhun Noria and Marie Moliner -- both provincial appointees and both of whom are decidedly pro-Blair -- complained to board chairman Dr. Alok Mukherjee the very day Thompon’s remarks were made public.
On Feb. 13, board members Noria, Moliner, Andy Pringle (also decidedly pro-Blair) and Mike Del Grande met to determine whether Thompson had breached certain sections of the Code of Conduct. Thompson was not permitted to attend the meeting and Mukherjee decided not to attend. Frances Nunziata, who has been open in her criticism of Blair (at least in my stories), had another meeting to attend that day.
After the meeting, the board decided Thompson had breached the Code of Conduct and that he be asked not to participate in any further discussions related to the chief’s contract.
As Chan’s June 17 submission to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice claims, the board never specified what Code of Conduct provisions he’d breached or the reasons for its decision. To make matters more suspect, contrary to Toronto Police Services Board protocol, Thompson never received a written complaint, nor did he get an opportunity to respond to the board, either in person or in writing...

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