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Mayor Ken Sim no longer chair of Vancouver Police Board

Frank Chong is new chair, Comfort Fadugba is vice-chair.
Mayor Ken Sim will remain a member of the Vancouver Police Board but will no longer serve as chair of what is the civilian oversight body of the Vancouver Police Department.

Mayor Ken Sim served his last meeting as chair of the Vancouver Police Board June 20 and has been replaced by longtime board member Frank Chong.

The change marks the first time in the board’s modern history that it will not be led by a sitting mayor, which has always been an automatic appointment when a mayor is elected in Vancouver.

The position has been an awkward one for mayors, as previous mayors have explained to Glacier Media over the years, with the inherent conflict of the chair of the board approving a draft police budget before it gets final approval by city council.

“There is a definite conflict that happens with the mayor trying to represent the broader budget and also representing the police,” former mayor Sam Sullivan told the Vancouver Courier in 2008. “Certainly, I feel the tensions regularly.”

In April, the provincial government announced amendments to the Police Act that now allow police boards to choose a chair and vice-chair. At the June 20 meeting of the board, Chong won the seat without a challenge, and Comfort Fadugba was elected vice-chair.

Frank Chong is the new chair of the Vancouver Police Board. Photo Mike Howell

Sim is council's appointee

Sim relinquishing the chair’s position was not unexpected, since his office suggested to Glacier Media in a statement almost three weeks ago that the mayor preferred someone else lead the board.

“The mayor believes that the position of chair may be better served by another individual who can fully dedicate their focus to this important role,” Sim’s office said in a statement June 6.

“Mayor Sim remains fully committed to supporting the board's efforts to ensure Vancouver remains a safe city for all who live, work and play here.”

Sim will remain on the board as a member, along with Lorraine Lowe, who is the city’s only non-political appointment; the mayor’s ABC Vancouver colleagues voted June 11 to keep Sim as the board’s political appointee, despite a challenge from Green Party Coun. Pete Fry.

Now that he is no longer chair, Sim can do two things he wasn’t allowed to do as head of the board: move motions and vote on matters that come before the board, which is the civilian oversight body of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD).

The board is the employer of the police department and responsible for hiring the chief.

The board, which currently has eight members — including Sim — also approves the VPD’s budget before it is sent to city council for final approval. Setting policy and responding to public complaints are other responsibilities.

'Passion for the organization'

Asked after last Thursday’s board meeting about relinquishing the chair’s seat, Sim replied:

“Well, I'm excited because I'm still going to be on the board. So we're still going to have City of Vancouver representation there [along with Lowe]. I have a passion for the organization, and I’ll still be there. So not a lot changes.”

Sim, however, acknowledged the Police Act no longer restrains him from voting only in the event of tie. He’s also aware he can now freely introduce motions for board members to consider.

“That change is for the positive, so we will actually have more of a say at that table,” he said.

The new chair — Chong — has served on the board since June 2020.

He, like the rest of the board, was appointed by the provincial government. Chong, who has served as vice-chair, said in a statement June 21 that allowing boards to elect their own chair “enhances independent civilian oversight of police.”

According to his bio on the police board’s website, Chong is the senior vice-president of risk and finance at Stabilization Central Credit Union. He works closely with credit unions on issues pertaining to mergers and acquisitions, risk management, governance, strategy and regulatory compliance.

Comfort Fadugba is the new vice-chair of the Vancouver Police Board. Photo Mike Howell

Musqueam Indian Band

The new vice-chair — Fadugba — was appointed to the board in February 2022.

Her bio says she is an award-winning business strategist, publisher and global speaker who has mentored, coached and trained more than 30,000 women on entrepreneurship skills and strategies globally.

She is currently the director of partnerships at Paidia Esports, which is described as “an inclusive gaming community that empowers women and allies of all genders to safely connect, learn and play.”

Three new members were announced at last Thursday’s meeting.

They are:

(Robert) Jordan Point of the Musqueam Indian Band is one of three new provincial government appointees to the Vancouver Police Board. Photo Mike Howell

• (Robert) Jordan Point of the Musqueam Indian Band. Earlier in his career, Point was an officer in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans but has since moved on to become the executive director of the First Nations Fisheries Council of BC. He is also a Musqueam councillor.

Jason Murray is among the new members appointed by the provincial government to the Vancouver Police Board. Photo Mike Howell

• Jason Murray is a lawyer at Eyford Partners, representing clients in Indigenous law, commercial and insurance matters. He is the chair of the community security advisory committee for the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and chair of the CIJA Pacific Region Local Partners Council.

 • (Akhtar) Raza Mirani is a high school principal at Templeton Secondary. He is also the general secretary of the Pakistani-Canada Association, and board member at Langara College. He did not attend the June 20 board meeting.

The board’s next public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19.

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