By Trevor Busch
Taber town council has signed off on the provincial appointment of Joe Strojwas to the Taber Municipal Police Commission.
Administration received documentation from Michael Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, advising of the provincial appointment of Strojwas to the commission for a three-year term.
At recent meetings of the TMPC, the provincial appointment of Strojwas has received a luke-warm reception among commissioners.
“I brought this up at our police commission meeting, but I would like to reiterate it for the rest of council, my disappointment in the process as to how these appointments came about,” said Coun. Carly Firth at town council’s July 17 meeting. “We were informed that we would have provincial appointments to our police commission – which I was not opposed to – but there was no consultation and no transparency around the application process. I’m not opposed to the particular individual that has been appointed, I think he will do a great job, he’s been on the police commission before. But I tried to research ways you could become a provincial appointee, and I couldn’t find any information how to apply, so I don’t think that is in the spirit of transparency and I was disappointed with the process.”
Recent amendments to the Police Act state:
28(2.3) If the council has appointed:
1. 1 to 3 members to the commission, the Minister may appoint one member to the commission,
2. 4 to 6 members to the commission, the Minister may appoint up to 2 members to the commission, or
3. 7 to 9 members to the commission, the Minister may appoint up to 3 members to the commission.
28(3) Notwithstanding subsection 2.3), the Minister may appoint additional members to a commission if the Minister considers it necessary, so long as the total number of members:
1. Appointed to the commission does not exceed 15 members, and
2. Appointed by the Minister is less than 50 per cent of the total number of commission members.
28(6.1) Notwithstanding subsection (6)(b), a person appointed to a commission by the Minister may be appointed for a term of office of up to 3 years.
Mayor Andrew Prokop asked CAO Derrin Thibault if he was aware of any application process or additional information related to the provincial appointments.
“There’s actually nothing I can speak to at this time, but administration can go away and pose some questions. I don’t know what’s happening now in terms of any other advertising because there is the ability to appoint up to two. So I don’t know what’s happening for any advertising, or a second person for an appointment, at this time. But administration can take that away.”
Prokop inquired if there had been any information before the commission recently regarding an application process for potential appointees.
“Actually the Alberta Association of Police Governance (AAPG), at their recent conference, they had a discussion and this has been the feeling from most police commissions in the province that there was a lack of transparency around the process.”
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to accept the provincial appointment of Joe Strojwas to the Taber Municipal Police Commission, as dated in the Ministerial Order, for a term of three years beginning April 24, 2023.