*this is a ‘sticky post’ and will remain at the top of this blog*
As reported on CTV news, the family of Emily Bernauer has contacted Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.
The Windsor Star reported the announcement the event is finished forever after the corporation was fined more than $65,000 for giving alcohol to an underage girl who died in a drunk driving crash.
Are Amherstburg taxpayers missing out on cost comparisons and potential savings?
Commentary by Linda Saxon
On November 14, 2017, I emailed CAO Miceli for the Request For Proposal.
Since I received no response from Miceli, on November 19 I emailed everyone on council requesting it from them.
Following some misunderstanding about what I was actually requesting, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo advised me that the Request For Proposal was public and would be forthcoming.
The next day, on November 20, Miceli emailed the RFP AMHERSTBURG POLICE SERVICES.
Commentary by Linda Saxon
I submitted the following to be placed on council’s agenda, cc’d to members of council:
I request that you adhere to your commitment to obtaining an OPP costing and to follow the procedure set out in the OPP Information Manual, which includes community consultation.
This council has sought RFPs for legal services: “I just think it is fiscally responsible,” said Courtney, adding her belief that there are other firms that could give a competitive rate to the town.
Council also sought a Request for Proposals (RFP) to try and get more costings for the mosquito situation. Miceli also stated in his report to council that an RFP would address accountability and transparency issues as sole-sourcing the service could cause a political backlash. An RFP would also see if the town could get more value for their money, he added.
An RFP was issued for the Concession 2 North bridge.
The only way taxpayers will know if they are getting the most effective and efficient policing service is by a full cost comparison, which would include the OPP.
Our community deserves the full benefit of a cost comparison of all policing options as well as public meetings regarding the highest budget item.
The Town of Amherstburg may have set a precedent in its own community when it banned Graham Hobbs from all municipal facilities, but it isn’t the first municipality to issue a ban that judges have ruled unconstitutional.
June 2006 Russell Township banned a persistent council critic.
Jacques Aube, 75, attended Russell Township municipal meetings about four times a month. He was notified last November he was barred from the municipal offices after he asked the township clerk a number of pointed questions about a Ministry of the Environment report on the township’s master plan during an October council meeting.
March 2009 Windsor Edy Haddad
Three years after being banned from city hall and other municipal offices, political and social activist Edy Haddad is now welcome to return. Windsor activist Edy Haddad allowed back at city hall
February 2010 Petrolia Trespass ban partly lifted
February 2012 Niagara Falls council bans resident from City Hall Fred Bracken
In an unprecedented move, Niagara Falls council has gone behind close doors to ban a former city employee from attending meetings.
July 2012 Windsor A leader of last year’s Occupy Windsor movement and outspoken critic of disgraced Coun. Al Maghnieh is no longer banned from city hall.
May 2013 Critics decry “draconian” measures in proposed Windsor no-trespass policy
Cross said the city has still not explained why her client Robert Mittag was banned from municipal property last summer after being ejected while protesting outside city hall. It was the no-trespass order against Mittag that triggered work on the new policy which council will be asked to adopt next week.
November 2013 Town urged to lift Gammie ban by CCLA
October 2014 now elected to council.
December 2014 Judge finds resolutions “violated” Gammie’s rights.
June 2015 Owen Sound Gammie insists town legal costs aren’t his fault.
November 2015 Niagara Region Fred Bracken A one-year trespass notice that barred a Fort Erie man from attending regional council meetings violated his Charter rights, a judge has ruled.
A countdown timer has been added to the right sidebar; mark your calendars for October 22 and remember to vote!
Commentary by Linda Saxon
The River Town Times article, OPP Does Not Give Costing by Ron Giofu, reports, in part, that DiCarlo didn’t doubt the OPP provides an excellent police service, he said he didn’t understand their costing model. He said while the town understands it would get “adequate and effective” policing from the OPP, “they won’t tell us exactly what that means.”
I would have thought that as an Amherstburg Police Services Board member, Mayor DiCarlo would have access to the Police Services Act, (PSA) that stipulates every municipality shall adequate and effective services in accordance with its needs and sets out, at a minimum what that must include.
Also, the October 20, 2017 Information Manual for the OPP Contract Proposal Process reiterates the same and also includes information about the Police Adequacy and Effectiveness Standards Regulation under the PSA :
“The Police Adequacy and Effectiveness Standards Regulation (Adequacy Standards) helps ensure the effective delivery of policing services. It was filed as O.Reg. 3/99 on January 8, 1999.
The regulation was part of the government’s overall strategy to provide Police Services Boards (PSB) and police services, the structure and tools they needed to ensure adequacy and effectiveness. All police services were to be in compliance by January 1, 2001.
Additionally, the regulation required all PSBs to develop a plan, setting out the steps needed to be taken by the board and the police service in order to meet the requirements of the regulation.
The Adequacy Standards regulation content is high level. It provides flexibility in implementation, including service delivery i.e. contracting with another police service or organization, or providing crime prevention initiatives on a regional or cooperative basis.
The primary focus of the Adequacy Standards regulation is on what police services do, and not how they should do it. Overall, it is designed to ensure that all Ontarians receive core police services.”
The OPP’s Information Manual clearly sets out costing timelines and steps, and oh, look at step 6:
“Municipal Council Consideration/Public Consultation and Decision.”
Have Amherstburg taxpayers been denied an opportunity to compare and provide input on ALL police costing proposals? Since it is only after council’s decision to move forward with the ‘local’ or Windsor Police options, I have to ask, as Mayoral candidate Aldo DiCarlo did during the 2014 campaign: “Did a single one of the current council members do their due diligence in requesting an OPP costing early enough so that we could have reviewed our options now that the contract is being negotiated? I believe the answer is no, and I’d be happy to be wrong.”
In response to the Commentary, “No Commitment To Remove OPP Clause In Police Contract,” then- Mayoral Candidate Aldo DiCarlo’s full comment posted on October 17, 2014 was:
This is an issue that I have spent a considerable amount of time on, specifically because of the large potential savings, $1M or more. At last night’s debate, Deputy Mayor Suttherland stated that an OPP costing takes at least 18 months. As a taxpaying resident, not a just a mayoral candidate, this both angers and frustrates me. If it does indeed take this amount of time, why then did not a single council member make the motion to request the OPP costing. If one of them did, I would like to know who and why it was voted down. ALL contracts have an expiry date. Did a single one of the current council members do their due diligence in requesting an OPP costing early enough so that we could have reviewed our options now that the contract is being negotiated? I believe the answer is no, and I’d be happy to be wrong.
Note: CAO John Micelli has not responded to a request for the policing Request for Proposal. Since the original commentary was in response to information and quotes in the Windsor Star, no corrections will be made.
The Mayor’s comment is set out below here and following the original post, Policing In Amherstburg – Who Knows Best?
Aldo DiCarlo on said
No disrespect, but your assumption of what was presented for ALL parties to quote, is not correct. The assumption that we demanded the organisational structure we currently have remain in tact is incorrect. What we provided as our guidelines was that any parties confirm their costing. For example, if we asked for 3 or 6 officers, we expected to have that confirmed in returned service. We are not going to pay for patrols we aren’t getting. The OPP model will tell you what they believe you need, fair enough, but they won’t confirm that you will get what you pay for. As mayor, accountable to confirm the taxpayers funds are being used accordingly, I am not okay with that. The OPP did not opt not to cost because they didn’t agree with our service levels, they declined to cost because they refuse to confirm service levels after you’ve contracted them. This I have confirmed with other municipalities who have switched to OPP. There will be a definite savings offered by Windsor, which residents will see as equal to or better than OPP’s current model, the question is “are residents even interested in switching to enjoy those savings?”. So far, the resounding answer to me has been ‘no thanks, we’ll pay the extra’. Thanks for keeping Amherstburg residents informed.
Also note, any typos were originated from the commenter’s submission.
Commentary by Linda Saxon
RE: Amherstburg reviews policing proposal from Windsor by Julie Kotsis, The Windsor Star
In my opinion, the Town of Amherstburg did a disservice to its taxpayers when it issued a policing Request for Proposal that ‘emulated the same level of service that we presently have.’
No wonder Windsor was the only police service to meet the RFP guidelines, which include a top- heavy hierarchy mirrored in other municipal police services but unparallel in OPP detachments.
Had Amherstburg elected officials not persistently maintained a municipal police service since its 1997 amalgamation with Anderdon and Malden, taxpayers could have realized an approximate one million dollar savings annually.
The then-Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services decided the newly amalgamated police service should have allowed for adequate and effective policing if the proposal was implemented as presented; it was for a while.
Three patrol zones were proposed with 24 hour a day policing and a maximum strength per 12 hour shift of six officers: 3 in Zone 1, 1 in each of Zones 2 and 3 and another officer would support all three zones as may be required.
By 2010, the Amherstburg Police Service Annual Report noted, “The Town is divided into 2 patrol zones ensuring that all areas receive an ongoing police presence.” Amherstburg Police Chief Berthiaume would not provide me with information relative to my 2011 request for the number of days in that year where less than four officers were on patrol.
In addition to the change in patrol zones, the police services board and police association agreed to a ‘poison pill’ contract clause that would cost taxpayers heavily if the municipality ever decided to choose OPP policing. Both parties should have known it was unnecessary because no policing model would have been approved unless officers were dealt with fairly and there was an arbitration process if necessary.
Policing was a hot election campaign issue in 2014 when residents questioned candidates about committing to council obtaining an OPP costing and/or removing the ‘poison pill’ clause. the burg watch posted all questions from residents and all candidates’ answers provided during the 2014 election campaign.
Mayoral candidate Aldo DiCarlo stated, in part, “I would definitely acquire this information, if given the chance, and then work with the appropriate parties to achieve what’s best for the Town, or more importantly, what the Town feels is best for them.”
Councillor candidate Jason Lavigne stated, “I believe there should be a cost comparison between the opp and our local service done. In order to get a true idea of the possible cost savings the “poison pill” needs to be addressed. Unfortunately this can only be done by the police services board and not council.”
Rather than now dictate the status quo policing model, council should have sought extensive public input to determine the community’s policing needs.
By continuing to narrowly focus on a municipal policing service model, despite the majority of the province realizing cost savings through OPP, Amherstburg taxpayers will be denied the opportunity to know the most cost effective police service option.
Not surprisingly, council approved another annual Amherstburg Police Services Board budget without much debate.
According to the River Town Times budget article, “Meloche asked about the necessity of the new non-lethal beanbag guns, stating he didn’t want the municipality to spend money it didn’t have to.”
A lofty principle but, historically, Amherstburg taxpayers have supported Amherstburg Police wish lists thanks to council’s commitment to maintaining a local police service whatever the costs.
The RTT article continued, “Berthiaume stated “It’s just another tool in the toolbox.” Lavigne, who is also chair of the police services board, complimented the service and Berthiaume stating that being first to do something puts Amherstburg ahead of others.”
So now being first is a priority?
Well it was important enough for Amherstburg taxpayers to be the first in Ontario to bear the expense of the controversial police body worn cameras and storage despite large police services not being able to find the money to purchase them.
And, for decades Amherstburg taxpayers have borne the cost of a five member Amherstburg Police Services Board when three members were recommended for a municipality under 25,000 as per the Police Services Act. Only by a council resolution can the composition increase to that of a large municipality so council must believe a large board in our small municipality is required.
Rather than switch to the more taxpayer friendly OPP during the 1998 amalgamation, or since, we taxpayers have paid for a top-heavy hierarchical police service that one might also find in a large city.
Following the amalgamation and local policing option, both the Amherstburg Police Services Board and Amherstburg Police Association agreed to a collective agreement with a hefty OPP buyout clause that effectively stifled more than a passing thought of switching to the cost saving OPP.
We taxpayers have also easily handled all the Amherstburg Police litigation costs, which, on one occasion, the Amherstburg Police Services Board considered ‘privileged information; the only information available to the public is overall legal costs’ which was all that was ever requested – never a line by line justification of legal fees.
I agree that the bean bag guns are an unnecessary purchase. Elected officials’ spending on behalf of taxpayers needs to reflect the fact that we live in a small town in trying economic times where taxpayers can ill afford big city big ticket items for ‘what if’ policing scenarios.
Commentary Linda Saxon
A full and independent review of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) is being held across the province via public meetings; written submissions can be sent to: email@example.com
As one who has been adversely affected by police actions, some of which is detailed on bullying in policing, the review is welcome; however, political will is another entity with sometimes unpredictable results – who knows if any positive changes will occur or another report will take up space on a shelf.
According to its website, the purpose of the review is to:
Make recommendations on how to enhance the transparency and accountability of the police oversight bodies while preserving fundamental rights;
Ensure the police oversight bodies are effective and have clear mandates; and
Reduce overlap and inefficiencies between these bodies.
In an October 27, 2016 press release, Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé provided his submission to the Independent Police Oversight Review; “he argues that all three of Ontario’s police oversight bodies – the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) – should be within the Ombudsman’s mandate.
As well, he recommends that to enhance police accountability at all levels, municipal police services boards should also be included in the Ombudsman’s mandate – which now includes all municipalities and local boards. “There is no explanation or purposive reason for exempting police services boards from my office’s authority,” the Ombudsman writes, noting that his office received 1,968 complaints about municipal police services in the past four years, and 20 complaints about police services boards.”
I strongly support the inclusion of police services boards in the Ombudsman’s mandate where I would expect objectivity and an investigation of the full facts with a view to fulfill an obligation of transparency and accountability, something I haven’t yet experienced.
Commentary by Linda Saxon
CKLW AM 800 News reports today that, “Following an audit of the Amherstburg Fire Department, the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management has come up with 27 recommendations that address everything from level of service and risk assessment to records management and public education.
CKLW AM 800 News reports today that Graham Hobbs is “suing for $100,000 after the town banned him from all town facilities.” A statement of claim says the actions of the town were “oppressive, arbitrary and unconstitutional.”
Amherstburg CAO, John Miceli, says the town has filed its ‘Statement of Defence’ and is prepared to defend the allegations.
CAO Miceli references a portion and attaches a page of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police A Process Guidebook for the Review of Policing Options in his Report to Council at tonight’s meeting.
The Guidebook dispels some of the myths about hiring of municipal officers, transfers, etc.