Commentary by Linda Saxon
In response to Glenn Swinton’s letter to the editor, River Town Times.
Glenn Swinton asked some sensible questions; however I wonder if one might not have been posed had the facts been known.
Mr. Swinton asked, “why are we now ‘negotiating’ the RFP with Windsor and not trying to accommodate or meet service levels from the other services that didn’t want to meet the RFP in the first place?”
The then-newly formed Joint Police Advisory Committee determined in July 2016 the OPP costing process was not feasible and the Municipality should drive the process to include bids.
While some municipalities issue RFPs for consultants and establish costing committees to compare all policing options, Amherstburg devised a Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) to ‘guide the development for a Request For Proposal (RFP) and hired a consultant to assist the committee.
It wasn’t that the OPP opted out; the OPP were ready to commence the costing proposal process for Amherstburg in June 2017 following the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services approved OPP costing process.
The OPP requested dates to schedule a meet and greet and asked CAO John Miceli to forward the Municipal Police Service Profile form to Chief Berthiaume or his designate for completion and return within four weeks; this would have been step three of the process.
The RFP was issued in July 2017. Everyone involved ought to have known an RFP for services was a different process than the Ministry-approved OPP costing process implemented around the province.
The JPAC received the OPP Information Manual for the OPP Contract Proposal Process detailing the steps to be followed. And, even though the committee used guidelines for the review of policing options from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the OPP process was also detailed in it.
The committee also discussed public consultation prior to the RFP even being developed and ratepayers should have had the opportunity to express the level of policing service they expect.
Instead, the public’s choice was limited to maintaining the status quo or selecting Windsor Police Service without knowing if there were better alternatives, despite elected officials’ promises to explore all cost saving options.