Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday December 5, 2018
Integrity watchdog urged to probe appointment of Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner. Taverner is a friend of the Ford family
Controversy is swirling over the Progressive Conservatives’ surprise appointment of a close friend of Premier Doug Ford to head the Ontario Provincial Police.
Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner, 72, was rubber-stamped by Ford’s cabinet to be OPP commissioner last week.
But iPolitics revealed Tuesday that the government quietly modified the job posting on Oct. 22, and this helped Taverner meet the criteria, as he was two ranks below the initial threshold to qualify for the job.
The original description on the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police website required all applicants to hold, at minimum, the rank of deputy chief or assistant commissioner, iPolitics found.
In the legislature, Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Sylvia Jones, who took the opposition questions after Ford ducked them, defended the unusual change.
“There was an independent hiring process,” said Jones.
“The cabinet endorsed the hiring committee’s decision,” she said.
Jones repeatedly refused to say whether Ford had recused himself from the matter when the decision was made last Thursday.
Conservative sources told the Star the premier was at the cabinet table when the order-in-council was signed last Thursday, a point Ford did not deny during a brief encounter with reporters.
“This is a man that’s served 50 years in this community with credibility,” he said, adding that he, himself, “absolutely” did not make the decision.
Taverner, a 51-year police veteran, is a unit commander in charge of Etobicoke divisions and a close friend of the premier. He succeeds Vince Hawkes, 56, who retired earlier this year.
As a Toronto cop, Taverner made $178,968 last year while the OPP commissioner made $275,907. That’s an annual raise of almost $100,000. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)