Eric Halpin doesn’t hold back. He says what he thinks.
This is good for a man who’s been appointed as the newest member of the Perth Police Services Board (PSB), but it may be a little tougher on the board itself.
Halpin is the fifth member of Perth’s board, joining Chair Jim Graff and members John Clement, John Gemmell and John Jarbeau at the meetings, which take place the fourth Thursday of each month. Inspector Derek Needham attends meetings as well.
Halpin is a bit ambivalent about this appointment. About two years ago Graff, who is also a town councillor, asked Halpin if he was interested in joining the Perth PSB as he’d noticed Halpin was almost always
present at council meetings, committee of the whole (CoW) meetings, and PSB meetings. He also knew Halpin was president of the Perth Cemetery Company and chair of the six-person board, as well as a member of the Committee of Adjustment and Property Standards.
“Perth is my adopted home town, my community,” Halpin explains.
As a retired employee of Ontario Hydro, he knows what it is like to have a home in many towns and communities and he is tired of moving. He and his wife, Barbara, looked around for some time before deciding on Perth. Once here, he wanted to contribute to the community and he wanted to see Perth continue to thrive.
That’s why it’s so puzzling to him that it took the government so long to finalize his appointment to the PSB.
“After two years, being sloughed off by the government with something so simple [as making this appointment] is a little discouraging,” he says.
“The reason for the protracted wait [whatever it is], is mind boggling,” Halpin shrugs. “I try to stay enthused, but I’m discouraged by the whole process.”
Graff agrees. “The approval process is frustratingly slow. Our board — including the Mayor and our Zone 2 PSB coordinator — have made repeated calls to the ministry to speed up the paper trail. The approval requires the signature of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the chair of the Provincial Cabinet and the Lieutenant Governor.”
Yanni Dagonas, senior advisor and press secretary for the office of Marie France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, said “There are several reasons why an appointment to a Police Services Board may take time to be processed. In general, we strive to ensure that appointments are processed as quickly as possible. In addition, our government is committed to ensuring Police Services Boards represent the people they serve. We congratulate Mr. Halpin on his appointment and appreciate his commitment to the people of Perth.”
Halpin is appointed for two years as a provincial representative on the board; he will then have to reapply, as do all provincial appointments to PSBs.
Although it has taken so long, Graff quickly adds that the board is “pleased” Halpin has “finally received his provincial appointment. Eric’s interest in the well-being of our town is evident.”
Halpin attended his first PSB meeting as a member on Sept. 28.