Questions For Mayor And Council

Thursday morning Abbotsford Today reported on emails between Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich and several of his senior officers. The emails were revealed thanks to a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Request (FOI) by the Pivot Legal Society.

The story, Abbotsford Police Emails Reveal Demeaning Attitude Toward The Homeless, has led to many questions about both the Chief’s behaviour and that of the APD.

Abbotsford Today sent the following questions to Mayor Banman and City Councillors asking for their response. We will provide those responses as and when we receive them,

Good evening Mayor and Council,

We would like your comments for publication on the news story published today on Abbotsford Today regarding the emails of the Abbotsford Police Department during and after the Abbotsford Chicken Manure Homeless incident.

You will find the story here:

Abbotsford Police Emails Reveal Demeaning Attitude Toward The Homeless

1. Does the City of Abbotsford accept or condone the comments made by Chief Rich and senior officers under his command revealed in the story?

2. Does the City of Abbotsford have confidence that Chief Rich can continue to perform his functions with any degree of assurance that he can direct his force to treat the homeless with dignity given the content of the emails revealed today?

3. Will disciplinary action be taken against Chief Rich and/or any of the officers named in the emails?

4. Will Bob Rich be allowed to keep his job?

5. Will anyone at the City of Abbotsford or its police department ever be held responsible for the Abbotsford homeless crisis ?

Thank you

We will publish your replies as and when we receive them.

Your commitment to and wholehearted participation in democracy is appreciated.

Mike Archer
Managing Editor
Today Media Group

Abbotsford Council

Abbotsford Council

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • blackegg says:

    Since last election, the City’s incumbent Council has shown a persistent inability to grasp the difference between the allure of a retail pitch and the Market’s actual play.

    Abbotsford’s previous mayor was graphically punished for their sins.

    And yet … and yet, those Councillors and our new mayor insist on playing that same tune while hoping against all hope that we’ll all rejoin the old dance?

    What is the outcome when elected representatives are sociologically, economically and politically tone deaf?

    Sadly, Abbotsford provides a case study

  • The Editor says:

    Walter Neufeld Says:

    Civil Servants: What are acceptable standards of services and what are unacceptable?

    City Council’s response to AT’s crucial questions may help establish meaningful benchmarks of accountability.

    We will wait for their response.

    From: Submissions

  • The Editor says:

    Councillor Henry Braun Says:

    Further to your recent request referenced ‘Questions for Mayor and Council’. As you may already know, Council does not have any authority with regard to the APD. It is governed by an independent Police Board. Five of the Police Board members are appointed by the Province. One of the other two members of the seven person Board is appointed by Council and the Mayor serves as Chair of the Board. It is my view that the first 4 questions posed should be directed to the Police Board since the Chief is accountable to the Police Board, not to Council. However, I can address the first part of your last question. A Homeless Camp Closure Protocol was created in 2008/2009 to allow for respectful clean up of homeless camps on public land. My understanding is that this Protocol was ignored. I do not know if this was deliberate or if those involved were simply unaware of the Protocol – either way, I expect an answer to that question at some point in the near future. You may also be interested in knowing that during the August 12, 2013 Council Meeting, I expressed my frustration on this very topic (as part of receiving the ASDAC Minutes of June 12, 2013), and stated that perhaps the Homeless Camp Closure Protocol needs to be revised as some have suggested. However, I also pointed out that there is no point in updating or rewriting a Homeless Camp Closure Protocol if it isn’t followed.

    As you know, our City Manager was not involved in the decision making process that led to the spreading of chicken manure. Nevertheless, he issued a statement shortly afterwards stating, “I take this situation very seriously and retain full responsibility for the manner in which we dealt with this incident. I am deeply sorry for our actions.” While I appreciate that the City Manager has taken responsibility in this matter, responsibility and accountability go hand in hand. “Responsibility” is about taking ownership for something – in this case, the decision and action that led to the spreading of the chicken manure. “Accountability” is about being held to account for what happens after one takes responsibility, i.e., the outcome or the solution that addresses the issue. As we hold the City Manager to account, he in turn will hold staff to account. I have every confidence that policies and procedures will be put in place to ensure that this will not happen again.

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