The mayor of Delta B.C. says he’ll seek new municipal spending controls, after it was revealed the city’s police department spent $42,000 on a crisis communications firm amid a scandal involving the chief’s wife.
In a Friday statement, Mayor George Harvie said the expenditure, while within existing rules, did “not meet the high standards of Delta taxpayers.”
The firm was hired as Lorraine Dubord, wife of Chief Neild Dubord, faced an investigation over allegations she’d sprayed a Surrey resident Kiran Sidhu with a hose for climbing on the rocks next to her beachfront property last June.
Harvie, who said he was speaking as mayor and not in his capacity as chair of the city’s police board, would bring the issue to council.
“Under existing rules, any expenditure under $50,000 that fits within the budget does not have to go to Council or the Police Board for approval,” he said.
“As mayor, I will be making a motion at our next meeting asking Delta Council to take steps to increase transparency by requiring any external contracts for public relations or communications services, regardless of value, to be brought to Council for discussion and approval.”
Harvie added that the city’s council is limited in what it can direct the police board to do, but that he would seek to have it ask the board to take similar action.
On Thursday, Delta Police Deputy Chief Harj Sidhu said the money came from the department’s existing budget, and that the communications firm was brought on “regarding a complex and unusual set of circumstances.”
While an RCMP investigation initially recommended charges of assault and uttering threats against Ms. Dubord, prosecutors later opted to pursue a process known as “alternative measures” in which the accused accepts responsibility for the crime and makes amends.
An investigation under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner was extended in January and is ongoing.
— With files from Catherine Urquhart