Despite recommendations from a provincial investigator, the Peterborough Police Services Board says it won’t stop Mayor Daryl Bennett from returning to the board if he wishes to do so.
On Thursday night the board discussed the recent findings by Mark Sandler, an investigator appointed by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC). He was tasked with overseeing and reviewing the police board earlier this year as the OCPC deemed the board dysfunctional.
Among his recommendations was to not allow Bennett to rejoin the board.
But board chairman Bob Hall says ultimately that decision rests with the mayor.
“The Sandler recommendation that the mayor not come back is really a recommendation for the mayor to consider,” said Hall.
“He has the legal and legislative right to return.”
Bennett last served on the board in 2012 when he was suspended and faced 11 allegations of misconduct stemming from an ugly and bitter police budget dispute which included disparaging public remarks about police chief Murray Rodd.
In 2014 the OCPC found him guilty on all allegations. But when the mayor threatened legal action the commission backed off and dropped all but one finding — the comments against Rodd.
Bennett announced he would return to the board this fall despite Sandler saying the mayor’s presence would be a deterrent.
“Before and during my time as administrator, the mayor made inflammatory, divisive and inaccurate comments about the senior leadership and the police service,” Sandler wrote. “Legitimate concerns have been expressed about the ability of the board, and the police service itself, to function properly were he to return to the board.”
The board on Thursday did agree with Sandler’s other recommendations to make board meetings more accessible to the public and to hold some meetings in Cavan Monaghan and Selwyn townships since Peterborough police patrol those areas.