We’re hearing for the first time from a member of the Vancouver Police Board who resigned abruptly last month.
In a letter to Global News, Faye Wightman said she became convinced that the board’s “flawed” structure was putting it, the general public, and the Vancouver Police Department “at risk” — and as such, she felt “compromised” staying on.
Details emerge about high-profile resignation on Vancouver Police Board
“If the board is comprised of directors who have a professional reliance on the City of Vancouver for funding, or on maintaining a positive relationship with the Mayor, who also chairs the police board, then their objectivity is compromised,” Wightman wrote.
“That is the case with two of our directors at the VPB and it was becoming clear they were in a position of conflict.”
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Wightman went on to note that Mayor Ken Sim chairs the police board, adding that any direct feedback or involvement in the board’s activity from politically appointed people working in his office also compromises the board.
“This was becoming more frequent and more direct interference was occurring,” she wrote.
Wightman did not provide any specific examples of interference.
The letter further argues that there is a conflict of interest in having the mayor chair the board when the police budget is a municipal responsibility.
High-profile resignation from Vancouver Police Board
Wightman, who previously worked as CEO of the Vancouver Foundation, served on the board for about four years and had two years remaining on her provincial appointment.
Sources told Global News last week that Wightman’s resignation letter had indicated divisions within the board, and alleged the mayor had asked her for her resignation several times.
Global News has requested comment from Mayor Ken Sim.
In a statement on Feb. 1 responding to her resignation, Sim expressed gratitude for Wightman’s service.
“While her departure is acknowledged with respect, we remain committed to upholding the Board’s mission and objectives,” he said at the time.
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