Who is this civilian who revolves around the new head of the SPVM?

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Who is this civilian who revolves around the new head of the SPVM?

Cyrille Sardais has access to restricted meetings with the Montreal police headquarters.

Cyrille Sardais, full professor and director of the Pierre-Péladeau Center for Leadership and Management at HEC Montréal, is close to the new director of the SPVM, Fady Dagher.

Since the new director of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), Fady Dagher, took office, a civilian has been constantly at his side, not only on the 9th floor of the headquarters, the one reserved for the ; staff, but also when traveling in the police organization.

In fact, Cyrille Sardais is full professor and director of the Center Pierre-Péladeau in leadership and management at HEC Montreal.

Many senior Montreal police officers have been wondering for a month why this civilian can participate in restricted meetings of the general staff, without even having undergone the mandatory security screening for anyone who wants to do business with the Montreal police.

The SPVM has service level 5, according to the Ministry of Public Security, the highest after the Sûreté du Québec. The majority of information exchanged within the organization is considered sensitive and confidential with respect to the public interest.

The security investigation is so strict that even Videotron has to provide a restricted list of technicians with the right to unscrew the cable from a TV in the cafeteria. Should we be surprised to see a stranger having access to meetings of the general staff? The janitor who comes to empty the bins has been investigated, denounce some police officers who spoke to Radio-Canada.

According to these same testimonies, the access granted to Cyrille Sardais is undoubtedly a privilege for a civilian who has no official connection with the City and its police department. The majority of police officers in the ranks of the SPVM would not be admitted to these senior management meetings.

SPVM director Fady Dagher, was already accompanied by Cyrille Sardais during his presentation to the members of the Montreal Public Safety Commission on November 24.

Reached by telephone, Inspector David Shane, now in charge of communications for the SPVM, would like to remind you that the new director arrived at his post three days before leaving for the holiday break. Cyrille Sardais was received in an atypical way, he admits.

However, according to our information, director Dagher sacrificed part of his holiday leave to hold meetings there. executive meetings. Mr. Sardais was also at his side without verifying him.

Mr. Dagher is aware of the responsibility of his new mandate. He wanted to be accompanied by someone he trusted quickly. Could we have waited for the conclusions of the security investigation before welcoming Mr. Sardais? Most likely. You're right, recognizes in a telephone interview Inspector David Shane, the new communications manager at the SPVM.

The presence of this academic in no way commits the new director, assures Inspector Shane.

It is HEC Montreal that pays the salary to Mr. Sardinian. It is an exchange of service that does not involve the City or the SPVM. He is at the SPVM as an observer, the senior officer insists.

However, according to police statements, Cyrille Sardais is anything but a simple observer during SPVM senior staff meetings. He would actively participate in it, giving his opinions.

“Mr. Sardais does not have access to any sensitive information, such as operational intelligence. He was asked to leave the room during the last meeting of the management committee. Yes, he can give his opinion in our meetings, for example to resolve the manpower shortage in the police field. But he has no authority at the SPVM. »

— David Shane, Inspector and new Head of Communications

Inspector David Shane is the new communications manager to the Montreal police.

Coincidence or not, according to our information, the request for an investigation to provide security clearance to Cyrille Sardais was requested on January 9, the same day that Radio-Canada contacted the SPVM to learn more about this incident. the latter, whose privileges are surprising.

Frédéric Boisrond, a sociologist by training and lecturer at McGill University, can testify to the very strict criteria he had to comply with before to take on an advisory role to former director Sylvain Caron, from July 2020 to July 2022.

Like Cyrille Sardais, his mandate allowed him to have access to meetings of the SPVM staff. Director Caron was asking for his opinions on modernizing the police organization to make it more open and inclusive.

But even before he set foot in the main entrance to headquarters, he says he had to submit to a rigorous security screening.

It's a very serious investigation. My adult children were investigated. We got in touch with my ex-wife. We investigated [on] my current spouse. We did the same thing with my brothers and sisters, as well as my personal friends, the sociologist remembers very well.

“The rule was pretty clear. If the slightest reputational risk for the SPVM emerged from my security investigation, as a civilian, I could not join the organization. »

— Frédéric Boisrond, sociologist who advised former director Sylvain Caron

The sociologist Frédéric Boisrond was independent counsel for former director Sylvain Caron on issues of racial discrimination and profiling.

Asked about the presence of Mr. Sardais alongside Mr. Dagher, Frédéric Boisrond recognizes that it is legitimate for the senior officers of the headquarters to question his presence in private meetings.

The real question is first of all whether it is possible to volunteer at the SPVM. If so, even if the volunteer is not paid, he still holds a position, says Mr. Boisrond.

“It is quite legitimate to wonder why a person, even if they give their personal time, can have access to meetings of the general staff without security screening. »

— Frédéric Boisrond, sociologist who advised former director Sylvain Caron

Another example put forward by the police to remind us of the importance of the security investigation is the hiring of a civilian who, in 2017, was to occupy the position of director of communications at the SPVM.

Even though he had gone through the recruitment process of the Human Resources Division of the City of Montreal, the reputation investigation raised issues that forced the SPVM to tear up the contract at the last minute, which he had to sign.

Inspector David Shane confirms that director Fady Dagher and Cyrille Sardais know each other for 12 years.

With his presence, our director obtains an outside perspective and advice in his new role. And in return, Mr. Sardais enriches his practice for his teaching and academic research. He is here to observe the functioning of the organization, adds the senior officer.

Mr. Sardais would therefore have an amicable mandate to accompany the director during his first 100 days in office, adds the senior officer of the SPVM.

In the management world, this is called shadowing, that is to say a form of accompaniment in the shadow of a manager. To accompany Mr. Dagher, Mr. Sardais has no office, no telephone provided by the police or even a computer, specifies Inspector Shane.

According to our own verifications, the two men worked together for almost four years, when Fady Dagher headed the Longueuil Agglomeration Police Department (SPAL).

Our information also allowed us to learn that Cyrille Sardais not only sat on an advisory committee for Mr. Dagher at the SPAL, but was also involved in the preparation of his public speeches.

Cyrille Sardais is an expert in leadership and management and Mr. Dagher has skills in police operation and management. They complement each other with different skill sets, says Inspector Shane.

“It's not a coaching relationship, because it would put our manager at a disadvantage . This is a desire of our director to be challenged in his decisions with an independent perspective. »

— David Shane, inspector and new communications manager at SPVM

What if Mr. Sardais' presence at the SPVM were to last for several years, as was the case in Longueuil? At that time, there will be the terms of a contract with the City of Montreal, assures the inspector.

However, after verifications in Longueuil, Cyrille Sardais is administratively a ghost in the records of the City. There is no contract or document bearing his name.

Mélanie Coutu, responsible for the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies, was unable to tell us who this academic was who nevertheless spent several years in the entourage of the director of police, as a personal adviser. .

HEC Montreal says it endorses the presence of its full professor for as long, at his expense, in various police forces.

And this, even for a period of 100 days or more outside his institution.

HEC Montréal faculty members are encouraged to maintain ties with organizations from diverse backgrounds in order to anchor their thinking in organizational reality and, where appropriate, to share their knowledge with their leaders, says Émilie Novales, Senior Communications Advisor at HEC Montreal.

“Mr. Cyrille Sardais holds the position of Full Professor in the Department of Management, HEC Montréal and Director of the Center Pierre-Péladeau — Leadership et Management, HEC Montréal. He specializes in leadership applied to organizations and leaders with a research interest in authentic leadership. It is in these capacities that he is currently completing a period of observation of leadership practices with Fady Dagher, director of the SPVM. »

— Émilie Novales, Senior Communications Advisor at HEC Montréal

The former deputy director general of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) Marcel Savard recalls that the mission of the police is to ensure the safety of the population. Information shared behind closed doors can still be sensitive, even if it seems trivial.

I experienced a situation when I was deputy director general at the SQ where a civilian was among us, in our meetings. I have always thought that two questions had to be answered to justify the presence of an independent adviser: does he need to know information, or does he have the right know them?, says Mr. Savard.

It is therefore of the opinion that the rule of the security investigation should not be circumvented, even if the leader has unshakeable trust in a person.

No one can predict what criminal intelligence officers may raise as reputational issues at the end of their investigation, says the former head of the SQ.

Police work is governed by a lot of confidentiality clauses provided for by law, recalls the former deputy director general. It is therefore normal for senior officers at the SPVM to ask questions not only about the presence of a new civilian, but also about their privileges.

Marcel Savard, former Deputy Director General of the Sûreté du Québec

We tried to enter into contact with Cyrille Sardais to discuss his mandate at SPVM. As of this writing, we have not received a response to our two interview requests.

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