Retired City of Hamilton accountant Shekar Chandrashekar was won his two-year battle to have the City of Hamilton conduct a separate audit of the Hamilton Police Services. City Council voted last month to instruct its auditors to perform the extra work at an estimated cost of $10,000 to $15,000. Chandrashekar called for the increased scrutiny after he examined police published financial statements and came up with a number of issues which he found concerning.
Among these is the amount of cash reserves the police service has built up—currently totaling more than $19 Million. Two of the reserve funds—sick leave at $6 Million and vacation pay, at $1.4 Million have not been touched over the past 7 years, suggesting that the service has been able to meet these demands out of its existing budget. “They could make use of some of these reserves to reduce their budget,” Chandrashekar suggested. He is also concerned about the size of accumulated vacation payouts to retiring officers after examining the policies of other police services in Ontario, which he says are less generous than Hamilton’s.
Chandrashekar intends to continue to monitor police finances and to raise issues with members of the Police Services Board. He currently has filed a number of Freedom of Information requests regarding the police services financials.