By COLLIN GALLANT on September 4, 2021.
Former police chief Andy McGrogan will seek a seat on city council this fall after filing nomination papers Thursday
The career policeman who retired last winter tells the News the campaign is sparked by his desire to continue in public service and provide administrative leadership to what could be a largely new group of councillors.
“The city is dealing with some pretty big stuff,” he said Friday, citing power plant review, Invest MH economic development plan and a recreation masterplan.
“And there’s COVID. Council needs candidates that can deal with this sort of stuff.”
McGrogan is the 30th person to register a bid to win one of eight council seats.
He says after six months in retirement he has been looking for an opportunity to put leadership skills to work.
“This council has spent a lot of time reacting to those things that sort of ‘just happen’,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s not, but we can do a better job.
“Let’s keep an eye on what’s next.”
McGrogan says the city is “on the right track with rightsizing” the budget, a process by which services are trimmed, cut or adjusted based on public expectations and available revenue.
The police department makes up one of the biggest budget items, worth about $24 million annually, though the city has a well-defined role to stay out of operational affairs and only provides a broad budget target for departmental administrators.
“My last year we were asked to shave $1 million, and did $960,000 without affecting service to the public,” said McGrogan, adding he has “no interest” in involving himself in police business and wouldn’t sit on the police commission.
“I would refuse it,” he said. “I have no interest in managing the police service from arms-length.”
McGrogan has lived in Medicine Hat since 1979, and rose through the ranks to become chief for the last 12 years of his career. He is 62 years old and married.
Also new to the list this week is Jim Black, a retired RCMP officer and school principal who was council candidate in 2013 and provincial Alberta Party candidate in 2015.
As well this week, sitting mayor Ted Clugston also filed his paperwork allowing him to officially begin raising funds and spending campaign donations.
He announced his intentions last January and now joins a five-person race for the city’s top job.
Also running are Linnsie Clark, Tony Leahy, Alan Rose, and Michael Starner.