Police tells Mayor 'it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets' and he walks - no penalty

News 100 redBy Staff

January 8th, 2021



The Mayor issued the following statement a few minutes ago.

For full transparency and accountability, I have not travelled outside the country or province in more than a year and have not left the City of Burlington since before the Provincial shutdown.

Moment she became Mayor

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward being sworn in as Mayor

I am just as troubled and frustrated as the community about continued news of travel outside the country or province by elected representatives, health officials or community leaders. This erodes public trust at a time we need to work with the community to defeat COVID-19.

I immediately spoke to Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) Chief Stephen Tanner, when I learned today (from the media) that he had travelled outside the country to attend to a property, with the permission of the Chair of the HRPS Board, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. I expressed my concern about the travel. I appreciate that Chief Tanner has now apologized and said it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets.

I encourage those with properties outside the province to consider local property management companies and continue to avoid non-essential travel. I have heard from constituents who also have properties outside the province who are not travelling to those properties, and they expect the same from their community leaders.

Clearly, as community leaders, we need to hold ourselves not only to the same standards we expect from the public, but a higher standard of accountability, transparency and behaviour. We are in a public health emergency when all non-essential travel is being discouraged by our public health officials and provincial and federal governments.

Accountability starts in our own backyard. My expectations are that no senior City staff or Council members will be travelling outside the province for non-essential trips during the shutdown. I can confirm that no senior staff at Burlington City Hall has travelled outside the province since the province-wide shutdown. I also asked and have received confirmation from all City Council members that none of them have travelled outside of the province since the shutdown.

As a new measure during virtual City of Burlington Committee and Council meetings, and other public meetings, I will be voluntarily disclosing where I am calling in from. I have asked all of my City Council colleagues to do the same.
Additionally, I have put on the agenda of our upcoming Emergency Control Group a discussion of what further measures are warranted to ensure our staff and council walk the talk, lead by example and hold ourselves to the same and higher standard than we expect of the community.

We are in the worst of this pandemic. It is all hands on deck. We need to trust each other and work together. To do that, we all need to make the same commitments and sacrifices to beat this deadly virus.

We need to work to restore trust when it has been broken, as it has recently with many announcements of travel by health, elected and community leaders.

I have a question: Why does saying “it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets” close the matter. That’s just not right.

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13 comments to Police tells Mayor ‘it was a poor decision and one he deeply regrets’ and he walks – no penalty

  • Terence

    I am also disappointed with the Mayor’s attitude to Tanner’s jaunt! I definitely would have expected her to demand his resignation and see the Halton Regional Police Services as being a politically motivated bunch of “good old boys” with little to no public accountability!

    Burton is ultimately responsible for this gross misconduct and seemingly untouchable – people like him don’t resign they wait for the hammer and the big pay off!

    Edited: The Gazette is not interested in attracting another libel suit.

  • PClark

    Crocodile tears and kabuki theatre.

  • bonnie purkis

    Over the past few weeks, we have watched as politicians and others in leadership positions have been held accountable for the decisions they have made, to travel out of country during this time of crisis. It is an insult to the residents of Halton, that Chief Tanner appears to be walking away with no penalty.
    If I have read the articles correctly, the chief left the country on December 26th as we went into full lock down and as of today, he has not returned. I would call that an extended vacation.

    • Mike Ettlewood

      “I immediately spoke to Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) Chief Stephen Tanner, when I learned today (from the media) that he had travelled outside the country to attend to a property.”

      Apparently, our mayor has Chief Tanner’s Florida phone number.

      • David Barker

        Probably his mobile # !. I woukd hope as the mayor of our City she has his contact info for 24/7/365 contact in case of emergency or whatever.

        Your point ?

        • Mike Ettlewood

          I would certainly assume so as well. My point was poorly made and too obscure. It was and is that the recipient of the mayor’s call yesterday, Chief Tanner, was still in Florida at the time of the call. The mayor’s and other statements on this inappropriate travel seem to be silent on this. I find this odd.

          • David Barker

            I’m always a bit amused by those caught out of the country being ordered back immediately. What difference does it make whether the person comes back immediate or stays away until their intended return date.

            I’d be happy for them to stay away, so long as they are fired. Apologies, mea culpas, statements as to “bad decisions” just don’t do it.

            Tanner should be fired. Burton should be stripped of his position as Chair, a d sanctioned however possible.

            Ea h and everyone one of Tanner, the politicians, government staff across the country surely knew what they were doing was wrong morally and because they were breaking guidelines they had been a part in setting. So no more sorrows. Just resign all your positions or be fired.

  • Helen Donohoe

    Chief Tanner’s error was in involving another person in his problem (attending to a second property that would mean travel.) The travel decision was Tanner’s alone to make. He has a very senior role. There was no need for him to involve someone else. He should not have asked and should not have gone.

  • Eve St Clair

    Chief Tanner needs to resign immediately . No excuses or pleas

  • David Barker

    Regrettably it closes the matter as far as Police Chief Tanner is concerned because he sought and was given permission by his boss, Oakville Mayor, Rob Burton.

    However, I think questions should be asked of Mayor Rob Burton. Why did he give his permission ? Surely his decision making ability must be questioned.

  • Carol Victor

    Bravo Mayor Meed Ward!

  • Hans Jacobs

    Permission for non-essential travel is not Rob Burton’s to give, IMO. Since he is so clueless, Burton should resign as Chair of the HRPS Board.

  • Penny Hersh

    Chief Tanner needs to resign or be asked to resign. Others who have done this have been forced to leave their positions.

    What is Chief Tanner apologizing for – the fact that he travelled out of the country when he knew that the public has been asked not to travel, or that he has been found out?

    The fact that the Mayor of Oakville, who is the chair of the Halton Regional Police Services knew about this and did nothing to stop this unnecessary travel needs be investigated as well.,

    I didn’t see it said that Chief Tanner was coming back immediately.