Pair of oversight roles vacated ahead of first Calgary city council meeting

A view of Calgary's downtown with historic city hall, taken from the steps of the city's municipal building, pictured on April 26, 2021. Adam Toy / Global News

A pair of oversight roles associated with the City of Calgary have been vacated.

On Tuesday, Calgary Police Commission chair Bonita Croft announced she was leaving the commission after two years as chair and another as a member.

And Nov. 30 will be the final day for integrity commissioner Meryl Whittaker, after less than a year of being in that position.

Read more: Calgary’s new integrity commissioner to stay ‘independent and unbiased’: Whittaker

The work to find a new integrity commissioner begins Monday, when the newly-elected city council appoints members of the public to a selection committee. The four-person committee will include one former councillor, and will work with an external recruitment firm to eventually recommend a new commissioner.

In a notice dated Sep. 30, former mayor Naheed Nenshi wrote that Whittaker’s departure was tied to her decision to retire.

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Read more: Calgary Coun. Woolley apologizes to colleague after calling him ‘an ignorant moron’

“The timing of her departure will allow Ms. Whittaker to support the next city council through its orientation and help position them for success,” he wrote.

Whittaker replaced Sal Lovecchio, who suddenly left the role in 2020. Whittaker was announced to the role on Nov. 26, 2020, following an eight-month search process.

Whittaker’s work included investigating Evan Woolley calling Coun. Sean Chu an “ignorant moron” on Twitter, determining it violated the councillor code of conduct. Woolley apologized.

Click to play video: 'Calgary councillors call for Magliocca investigation to continue amid integrity commissioner recusal' Calgary councillors call for Magliocca investigation to continue amid integrity commissioner recusal
Calgary councillors call for Magliocca investigation to continue amid integrity commissioner recusal – Feb 12, 2020

Croft’s departure from the police civilian oversight body comes at a time when police have been under increased scrutiny for their current and past actions.

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“Certainly the work of the commission on (the police investigation of allegations against Chu) and everything else will continue with my departure, and I know that the rest of the commission is anxious to move on with that work,” Croft said.

Croft said the past two years have been a “very busy time” for her after she took on increased responsibilities in a VP role with Suncor Energy.

Read more: Calgary Police Commission investigating handling of historic Sean Chu allegations

She also mentioned some highlights during her tenure: modernization of the Calgary Police Service to include EDI, financial accountability, and processes and controls, all during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday was Croft’s final police commission meeting. She had shared her decision to leave the volunteer role with then-mayor Nenshi “weeks ago” and more recently with Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

Read more: Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek doesn’t swear in Coun. Sean Chu, leaves it to justice

Calgary Skyview MP George Chahal left the police commission after he won in the federal election and Croft’s departure leaves a pair of seats open on the commission.

Croft leaves at a time when city council annually fills vacancies on boards, commissions and committees.

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She expects her replacement on the commission to be named by its Nov. 30 public meeting. And the commission will be deciding on a chair shortly after.

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