September 13, 1993


McCormack's move

Police Chief William McCormack would save himself, the force and the public a lot of grief if he would co-operate with the civilian authority that oversees him. Despite his vociferous denials, he himself invited the latest controversy over the appointment of a trials judge.

That's the person who hears allegations of police misconduct and determines discipline. In July, the police services board discussed the need to establish criteria to evaluate candidates for the job. Mc«ormack was asked for a report, prior to selecting any new appointees.

But the chief went ahead anyway and named Staff Inspector Allan Griffiths to one of those positions.

Griffiths was one of the officers admonished for his role as prosecutor in disciplinary hearings of former Sergeant Brian Whitehead. (Whitehead was demoted to constable, following allegations that he extorted sex from a woman by threatening her with arrest).

Intentional or not, McCormack's backroom manouevre thwarted the board's directive.

Finding himself in a spat with the board, he beat a hasty retreat and insisted that Griffith's appointment was only a temporary during a pressing backlog, and not a promotion.

Board chairperson Susan Eng, however, thought it was very much a "permanent" appointment "until I wrote to him." All this quibbling misses the point.

The board's intention was to set standards for the job, whether the individual wound up serving one year or one minute. McCormack's actions subverted that objective.

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Created: February 2, 1997
Last modified: February 8, 1997

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