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New faces at police board

Fort Erie mayor Doug Martin handed in his badge.

Not unexpectedly, regional council decided to change faces and named the new regional chairman, Gary Burroughs, and two other councillors to the Niagara Region Police Services board.

They will all get real honest to goodness police badges, and Martin had to turn his in.

I  asked him if he tossed his badge on a desk like Dirty Harry or something like that.

“They tore off my epaulettes and threw them down on the ground,” joked Martin Friday afternoon. “They ripped my buttons off and marched me out a there.”

Port Colborne mayor Vance Badawey and Thorold councillor Henry D’Angela were also chosen in a contested battle for the three regional posts.

There is tension between the region and the police services board — which is also composed of provincial appointees — that often erupts in acrimonious debate between the two bodies.

The battle over the location of headquarters is the latest in a continuing series of firefights over the past decades. Always at the core is the ever-growing budget to provide police services in Niagara.

The budget last year was about $120 million and an early draft proposes an additional $6.5 million for 2011, a five-and-half per cent increase.

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