Questions For Council: OPP Costing Process Not Followed

Members of council have been asked the following questions:

why did council not provide the OPP with an opportunity to schedule an information session?

why was the September 14, 2017 letter from the OPP to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo not presented to council until five months later at its February 26, 2018 meeting?

and why did council not submit a resolution to the OPP by the September 30, 2017 deadline?

Access To Letter: Town Did Not Follow OPP Costing Process

As mentioned in this post, I submitted a FOI request for the letter referenced by the mayor in a November 14, 2017 RTT article since he did not respond to my two emails regarding my request for the letter.

The town has disclosed the letter, along with the fact that it is publicly available so no FOI request was required.

The article, OPP does not give police costing to Amherstburg, quoted Mayor DiCarlo:

“Instead of getting a costing from the OPP, we got a letter saying they are not going to follow our guidelines.”

The OPP “basically said no” when asked for the details the town wanted, said DiCarlo. He said it was “incredibly disappointing” the OPP didn’t want to work with the town’s guidelines, adding it was also “very frustrating” that while Windsor was willing the OPP “couldn’t be bothered.”

The September 14, 2017 letter from the OPP is addressed to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Rather than indicate an unwillingness to follow the town’s guidelines, the OPP reiterated “the OPP utilizes the Information Manual for the OPP Contract Proposal Process for all contract proposals” and explained, “the process prescribed in your Request for Proposal differs in significant ways from the process described in our manual. As a result, the OPP cannot participate in your Request for Proposal.”

The OPP also stated, “we have made several attempts to schedule an information session to explain to your Council the OPP contract proposal process. Since we have not been provided with the opportunity to do so, we recommend that you and your Council familiarize yourself with the Information manual, as it outlines all the steps involved in the contract proposal process.”

The OPP required a council resolution by September 30, 2017 if it wished to proceed.

The town confirmed that the September 14, 2017 letter to Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was presented five months later to council at its February 26, 2018 meeting.

Therefore, I disagree with the mayor’s position and submit the town did not follow the OPP costing process. How incredibly disappointing.

OPP Or Other Contract In Amherstburg Police Collective Agreement

A three year collective agreement was signed on September 19, 2017 by the Amherstburg Police Association and Amherstburg Police Service Board, consisting of:

Patricia Simone, Chair
Robert Rozankovic, Vice Chair and council candidate
Aldo DiCarlo, Mayor and mayoral candidate
Jason Lavigne.

Article 34: OPP Policing

Should the Service be disbanded or reduced in size as a consequence of an agreement with the Ministry of the Solicitor General to have the Ontario Provincial Police assume the policing responsibilities for the municipality, each member of the Service offered employment and who accepts employment with the Ontario Provincial Police shall be entitled to the following:

a)  The Board agrees that when a member is offered and accepts employment with the O.P.P., the Board will pay each member $1500.00 per year of service, or part thereof.

b)  The Board agrees that on the date of disbandment ofthe Service each member absent from duty by virtue of illness or injury, or any other authorized absence, shall continue to be provided with all of the benefits of this Agreement, unless benefits are otherwise provided by the Ontario Provincial Police from the date of disbandment. A member covered by this provision who is not offered employment or who does not accept employment with the 0 . P.P. shall be entitled to all of the applicable severance benefits outlined within this Agreement in addition to any other benefits of this Agreement.

c) In the event a member is offered employment with the O.P.P. and accepts such employment, but the employment is not at least comparable in base salary, the Board agrees to pay the difference in base salary for a period of two (2) years from the date the member commences employment with the O.P.P.

d) For the purposes of this subsection, member is defined as a member at the time of disbandment of the Amherstburg Police Service.

The Board agrees that when a member is offered and accepts employment with the O.P.P., the Board will, on behalf of the member, allocate $1000 per year of service, or part thereof, into a Retiree Benefits Account to be managed by the Corporation of the Town of Amherstburg, and upon the member’s retirement from the O.P.P., the Member’s Retiree Benefits Account shall fully vest with the member and the Corporation of the Town of Amherstburg forfeit all rights to this account as outlined below:

i) The member shall be eligible to register for group health insurance.

ii) The costs associated with the member’s registration in a group health insurance shall be paid from the member’s Retiree Benefits Account.

iii) The Corporation of the Town of Amherstburg shall withdraw the funds necessary from the Member’s Retiree Benefits Account in order to pay the member for reimbursement of group health insurance provided the employer receives a receipt or letter from the member identifying a payment of benefits to an insurance provider. This Agreement shall constitute the Member’s authorization and direction to the Corporation of the Town of Amherstburg for such withdraws.

iv) Should the account balance reach zero, the account shall be closed.

v) Should the member die with a balance in the account, the member’s surviving spouse may continue to use the account in the same manner as when the member was living.

vi) Should the member die with no surviving spouse or should the member’s surviving spouse die, any remaining funds in the account shall be returned to the estate of the member or their surviving spouse, as the case may be.

34.02 Should the service be disbanded or reduced in size as a consequence of an agreement with the Ministry of the Solicitor General to have the Ontario Provincial Police assume policing responsibilities for the municipality, each member of the service not offered employment with the O.P.P., or who does not accept employment with the O.P.P., or whose employment is terminated as a consequence of an agreement with the Ministry of the Solicitor General to have the Ontario Provincial Police assume policing responsibilities shall be entitled to the following:

a) Four (4) weeks’ salary at their regular rate of pay for every year of service, or part thereof, with the Amherstburg Police Service.

b) The full Ontario Health Plan Benefits package under this agreement at the date of termination to continue for two (2) years from the date of termination or until the member is re-employed and in receipt of such benefits from the new member’s employment, whichever comes first.

c) The amount of up to five thousand ($5,000) dollars for education, upgrading or retraining. These funds are for tuition, books, and equipment, traveling and living expenses directly related to education, upgrading or e-training. The member must commence the education, upgrading or retraining within twelve (12) months of termination as outlined in this Article only. The funds will be available for a thirty-six (36) month period from the commencement of the education, upgrading or retraining, except if the member retires.

34.03  Should the service be disbanded or reduced in size as a consequence of an agreement with the Ministry of the Solicitor General to have the Ontario Provincial Police assume policing responsibilities for the municipality, the Board agrees that all rights under the current collective agreement and/or preceding collective agreements’ provided to retired members, their dependents, and deceased retirees dependents, shall remain in effect and shall continue after the time of disbandment of the Service.

34.04  In the event that the Board receives permission to disband the Service and contracts policing to another police service, other than the Ontario Provincial Police, or amalgamates with another police service, any member of the Association who is not offered the same or higher rank or classification level without loss of seniority, and an equivalent or improved salary and benefits package as provided in this Agreement shall be entitled to elect to receive a severance package, as provided in Article 34.02(a), (b) and (c), or the member may elect to accept the position offered at the lower rank or classification and lower salary, in which case the Board shall pay to the member the difference in salary between the salary provided in this Agreement and the salary received in the new position, for a period of two (2) years.

Severance For Amherstburg Police Officers Examined

The following is publicly available information from CAO Miceli and the JPAC to council.

According to the proposal, severance is not payable as all staff will be assumed by the Windsor Police Service (WPS).

Both the town and the Amherstburg Police Association obtained legal opinion; details of legal counsels’ positions is in a private and confidential memo.

The estimated range for severance outcome is $0-$2,400,000. based on the possibility of approximately 13 senior staff possibly not willing to transfer to WPS.

The worst case severance scenario would result in a reduced cost savings of $12,106,820 over a 20 year period or an average annual savings of $605,341. This average annual savings continues to represent a significant annual savings for the Town and while maintaining future cost predictability.

A best case scenario would be $14,557,845 whereby no severances would be paid out. As noted the issue of severance may be a legal contentious one and the ‘worst case scenario’ is provided to Council in the interest of full disclosure and transparency, and should not be construed as an outcome that is preordained.

OCPC Found Dysfunction In Peterborough

According to the CBC report, “Complaints in the field [of policing] are inherent so I can’t say I’m surprised. The Town of Amherstburg​’s police force has had complaints. This is what happens in the business. We’d like to know what the complaints are and the details behind them,” DiCarlo said.

Maybe Mayor DiCarlo should submit a Freedom of Information request. Or maybe he shouldn’t comment until he knows the details. For example, are breaches of human rights or privacy acceptable business practices?

The details of OCPC’s Investigation into Peterborough Police Services Board were serious and concluded:

Based on evidence obtained during the course of the investigation, as summarized above, the Commission is now of the opinion that the ongoing dysfunction of the PPSB constitutes an emergency and that the appointment of an administrator pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the PSA is necessary in the public interest. The status of the existing Board members is not affected by this Order, as they remain members of the Board in good standing, but the Board’s functions will be overseen by the administrator.

Amherstburg Holds Emergency Meetings In Response To WPS Investigation

Blackburn News reported, Amherstburg’s Police Services Board meets for an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon in response to an investigation into the Windsor Police Service.

The report includes: Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, “I guess the biggest thing that has taken me back is the last minute notice from the OCPC,” says DiCarlo. “That really didn’t give us much more than a day to try and figure out what we do and so, that more than anything has got me a little upset.”

Investigation Into Windsor Police Service and Board

CBC News reported The OCPC started to receive complaints in January and opened an investigation into on May 4. The investigation is being disclosed now ahead of the push for WPS to offer policing services to Amherstburg.

The Windsor Star also reported, The investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission concerns Windsor police hiring and promotional practices including alleged nepotism, allegations of a “poisoned work environment” and allegations of “improper interference in specific legal proceedings,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens confirmed Wednesday.

iheartradio/am800 reported

The Commission says it decided to conduct an investigation on May 4 into a number of issues, including;

  1. Whether the promotional processes, particularly to administration rank positions, are fair and transparent and whether the Board exercises appropriate oversight of those processes
  2. Whether the hiring processes relating to the potential hiring of relatives are fair and transparent
  3. Whether the board is appropriately informed about administration issues relating to its mandate, including the promotional processes involving candidates for senior administration
  4. Whether there has been improper interference in specific legal proceedings and whether any such interference has been initiated, encouraged and/or sustained by the current administration of the WPS and/or the board.
  5. Whether a poisoned work environment has been created, encouraged, and / or sustained by the current administration of WPS in relation to workplace policies and/or accommodation requests
  6. Whether the WPS has fair and transparent processes to address workplace harassment and human rights complaints
  7. Whether the board is fulfilling its statutory oversight role in relation to items 5 and 6.

What Is Adequate And Effective Policing?

In the November 14, 2017 RTT article, mentioned in this post regarding an FOI request for the letter referenced by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, the mayor said he didn’t understand their costing model. According to the article, 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.”

Well how are we supposed to know exactly what it means if the Windsor Police proposal requires a Freedom of Information request?

FOI Request For Letter Referenced by Mayor

In addition to the FOI request to Windsor Police, I have submitted an FOI request to the town of Amherstburg for a letter referenced by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo in the RTT.

Mayor DiCarlo was quoted in a November 14, 2017 RTT article, “Instead of getting a costing from the OPP, we got a letter saying they are not going to follow our guidelines.”

In a June 9, 2018 email to Mayor DiCarlo, I requested a copy of the letter he referenced and the council meeting minutes wherein it was presented and discussed.

On June 11, I let the mayor know that I am awaiting his response.

Amherstburg Mayor Responds

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo’s response RE Windsor Police Proposal Requires FOI Application:

“I believe it has been stated publicly already that the Windsor proposal contains operations information that could jeopardize the safety and/or the property of the residents of both Windsor and Amherstburg.  It should be noted that Amherstburg police have never released related information as well, for the same reasons.

The entire process, short of the operations information, was public and transparent.”

I disagree on both counts.

Windsor Police Proposal Requires FOI Application

On June 6, in response to a request for the Windsor Police proposal to takeover Amherstburg Police, Town Clerk Paula Parker advised it was not posted publicly as it contained a confidentiality clause and I would have to request it from Windsor Police Services directly. I did.

Today, Windsor Police Privacy Coordinator advised I must make an access request, pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information Act, for a copy of the records I am seeking.

So, I apprised all members of council of my requests for the proposal and stated ratepayers were led to believe the entire process would be transparent.

I also asked if anyone would like to explain how being transparent is possible if information is kept from the public?

Any responses, if received, will be posted here.

OCPC To Hold Public Meeting – Amherstburg Policing Proposal

Although the Windsor Police Proposal to take over policing in Amherstburg is not publicly available, the Ontario Civilian Police Commission will hear from the public on June 26, 2018:

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  AND 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Libro Credit Union Centre (Libro Centre)

3295 Meloche Road Amherstburg, ON

​To download/access the official Notice of Public Meeting, click here.

To download/access relevant portions of submissions, click Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

Province-Wide Parties Debate on Accessibility and Disability Issues

Accessibility is not exactly a buzz word during any election campaign, but we are all governed by the provincial accessibility legislation and its regulations, as well as the Human Rights Code.

And, if senior is a buzz word during the Amherstburg election campaign, the sector is directly affected by elected officials’ decisions to strengthen a commitment to people with disabilities or not.

The Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) Inc., organizer of Province-Wide Parties Debate on Accessibility and Disability Issues, invite people with disabilities and their allies from across Ontario to ask questions to each party regarding: Accessible/Subsidized/Supportive Housing, Employment, Poverty Reduction Strategies, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Education and other disability issues.

May 16, 2018, from 6 to 8.30 pm Debate Livestream Webcast: https://ryecast.ryerson.ca/72/live/1807.aspx.

Public Meeting Re Windsor Police Takeover in Amherstburg

The Windsor Star reported, “The commission deciding the fate of Amherstburg police wants to meet with residents.”

According to the article, CAO Miceli said, “Public consultation is part of the OCPC’s process,” adding the public meetings are not meant to seek community approval.

The ONTARIO CIVILIAN POLICE COMMISSION (OCPC) is not required to hold a public meeting; in fact it did not hold one in St. Marys, the model often referred to. The OCPC asked the City of St. Marys to provide a written submission setting out the proposed policing arrangement and approved it.

However, OCPC will consult with Amherstburg residents regarding council’s decision to have Windsor Police take over policing in Amherstburg.