Friday, September 20, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, September 20, 2013

Bratina wrestled with conflicting roles of mayor and police board chair

Bob Bratina says for more than three months he thought of the grieving family of police shooting victim Steve Mesic and felt conflicted.

The mayor in him wanted to reach out immediately to offer condolences. The Hamilton Police Services Board member in him wanted to follow Chief Glenn De Caire’s instructions to have no contact with them at all.

Bratina learned the chief had ignored his own advice by phoning Steve’s pregnant fiancée to offer his sympathies last week.

Monday, Steve’s loved ones packed an emotionally charged police board meeting demanding kindness from their mayor and chief.

After the meeting Bratina talked with his wife and advisers and reflected on his “responsibilities as the mayor.” He decided to resign from the board.

Just last month, Bratina was elected chair of the police board. Now he is the only Hamilton mayor in recent memory to not hold a seat on it.

“When tragedies occur within municipalities there’s an expectation that mayors will be responsive in ways that aid the healing process,” Bratina said at a hastily called news conference Wednesday. “However the advice I received as a member of the police board was to not make any statements or have any contacts with anyone connected to the investigation … My position as member and chair of the board interfered with my ability to meet the expectations of the community in responding to events.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)