Editorial – Silence is Deafening at First Meeting of the Year for Cobourg Police Services Board

In Editorial

It appears that transparency is certainly something the Cobourg Police Services Board need a lesson in.

Let’s have a breakdown of what’s taken place, or maybe what’s not taken place with the Cobourg Police Services Board.

On Tuesday, January 16, 2024 the Board met at Venture 13 on D’Arcy Street which is where they hold their monthly meetings across from the Cobourg Community Centre.

The agenda was light for the meeting, but one thing that was on the agenda was the appointment of a new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board.

Ron Kerr was re-elected as Chair of the Board and Cobourg Councillor Adam Bureau was elected Vice-Chair.

But a familiar name known to most who follow the Police Services Board wasn’t at the helm so-to-speak.

Dean Pepper was the original chair of the board in 1992 and re-joined in 2018 after a vacancy.

Pepper was elected Chair in 2019, 2020, and 2021, and Vice-Chair in 2023.

Kerr has been Vice-Chair from 2019 to 2022 and in 2023 became Chair.

So the reappointment of Kerr as Chair is no real surprise.

But what happened to Pepper?

He is still on the Board, but no longer serving as Vice-Chair.

Today’s Northumberland enquired as to what happened at this public meeting?

It seems the public meeting – may not have been so public because the Chair of the Police Services Board isn’t talking.

Numerous e-mails were sent asking how the vote went and if there were others that went for the position of Chair and Vice-Chair other than Kerr and Bureau.

It’s public knowledge that Councillor Adam Bureau is the Vice-Chair, but given the past history, did Pepper go for the position?

Who knows? The Board, specifically Kerr isn’t saying.

Which if you’ll excuse the pun sounds like a “cop” out because in the press release issued by the Cobourg Police Service and not the Board, Kerr talks about “accountability and transparency.”

It’s hoped there is a brighter future for the Board in 2024 because they aren’t starting off so well given it was the first meeting.

With the agenda being fairly light, and Today’s Northumberland having many things to cover, we thought we could always catch-up. If there were any questions, because the meeting was open to the public – we could ask. That’s what transparency is about – or what it’s supposed to be about.

And for a person that’s had over thirty years experience as a Board member – Kerr should know that.

One thing the Chair did do right was praise Pepper for his tireless work.

“I want to thank Dean Pepper for his dedication and continued commitment to the Board and police service. Under his leadership as both Chair and Vice-Chair, Dean was able to harness opportunities for innovation, forge partnerships, and increase fiscal responsibility.”

Pepper is well known and a respected member in the community. In his younger days he was on Cobourg Council and has decades of tireless service to the community of Cobourg.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He’s still on the Board. Just not Vice-Chair.

Isn’t it ok to ask what happened though? For the last few years the roles of Kerr and Pepper were interchangeable.

Did Pepper decide not to go for Vice-Chair?

Who knows.

The fact that Pepper isn’t Vice-Char isn’t news. The fact that the Chair of the Board, refuses to discuss what happened at a public meeting is – and he should be called out for it.

The silence is deafening.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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