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Deputy Chief Peter Sloly described drastic reforms to young entrepreneurs last week, that he said could trim hundreds of jobs from the force’s budget.Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

Toronto's police chief says there is no animosity between him and a deputy chief who spoke critically of the force in a speech last week. But Chief Mark Saunders said he is not sure when Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, who is on leave, will return to work.

"I'm not sure when he's going to be returning," Chief Saunders told media after a Wednesday meeting of the police's civilian oversight board. "He's on leave and he made that choice himself."

Deputy Chief Sloly, who was also in the running for the chief's job last spring, was speaking to young entrepreneurs on Friday when he described drastic reforms that he said could trim hundreds of jobs from the force's ballooning, billion-dollar budget.

"I hope when he comes back I have an opportunity to hear that version of how we can save [the cost of] hundreds of officers," Chief Saunders said. "But we're on the same page when it comes to the transformational change."

He said he understands the public's frustration over the police budget, but that he "[assumes] there will be cost savings" after operational changes.

In December, the Toronto Police Services Board formed a task force to modernize the force, including looking at outsourcing jobs, reining in overtime and reducing the need for cruisers.

On Wednesday, Mayor John Tory called the appearance of internal strife overblown. In 2014, he became the first mayor in years to sit on the board himself, saying he wanted to ease tensions.

"In terms of that kind of unity of purpose … the police services board is better than it was before," he said.

The board's loudest voices in favour of reform have left in shakeups in recent years, including city Councillor Michael Thompson and Alok Mukherjee, who stepped down as chair suddenly in July.

Andy Pringle, a friend of Mr. Tory, became interim chair, but the mayor said Mr. Pringle had "fairly low" interest in taking the job permanently.

However, Mr. Pringle was voted in unanimously at Wednesday's meeting as chair for the rest of 2016. He did not respond to a request for comment about what had changed his mind.

"I think he's doing an outstanding job," Mr. Tory said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pringle did not respond to a question about whether the board was considering disciplinary action towards Deputy Chief Sloly. That decision is the board's, not the chief's, Chief Saunders said.

The board briefly discussed Deputy Chief Sloly in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Tory said. But he dismissed complaints from the police union about the deputy's remarks as "people writing letters back and forth" and called the dispute "ironic" because Deputy Chief Sloly was speaking publicly about the same reforms the police board task force is considering.