Mayor steps aside as chair of Saanich Police Board during investigation period

Saanich Police Board kicked off the first meeting of 2015 by asking mayor to step down

Saanich Police Board’s first order of business at the Jan. 15 meeting was to request the chair, Mayor Richard Atwell, step down from the Police Board in the wake of his recent accusations about Saanich Police.

The monthly meetings are held in municipal hall.

On Monday, Atwell launched a series of allegations, including some at Saanich Police. The allegations prompted multiple responses from the Saanich Police, who also said they found no criminal wrongdoing pertaining to the instalment of monitoring software on the mayor’s and other computers at municipal hall.

In light of those incidents members of the Police Board asked Atwell to abstain. Atwell agreed as there are ongoing investigations, including a complaint launched by Atwell regarding Saanich Police conduct surrounding the Dec. 11 incident in which he phone 911.

Also on Thursday, the Police Board had a request for review dismissed by the Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton on Thursday about Mayor Atwell chairing the board.

“It’s the board’s role to think about governance and how they run themselves as a board, it’s up to them to manage their internal affairs as they see fit,” Anton said.

“The board is appointed by government, it’s independent, and they have access to it’s own legal advice and they operate with their own internal governance. It’s properly left in their hands. They’re very capable people.”

Police Board member Chris Pease chaired the meeting in Atwell’s place. Pease comes from a municipal background and recently filled in as Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Colwood as recently as January of 2014.