Police Contract Negotiations ARE Underway

Two inquiries to Shawn McCurdy, President, Amherstburg Police Association have been unanswered, but a River Town Times article states, McCurdy said he couldn’t get into details with regards to details of the negotiations but indicated that if the “poison pill” clause were to come up, the association would be willing to discuss it.

The “poison pill” clause, which gives veteran officers a payout should Amherstburg switch to OPP policing, is something that McCurdy said the association is “more than willing to look at” if the board wishes to discuss it. He noted it was instituted in 1998 when Amherstburg police had better pay and pensions than that of OPP but he added “things have come full circle” where OPP makes more money now and pensions are comparable.

Sutton On Police Contract Negotiations

It has been two weeks since Candidates and current Police Services Board Members Cleminson, Gemmell, and Sutton were asked to confirm/deny that police contract negotiations are underway and whether a consultant was hired to negotiate the new contract on behalf of the board.

Board Chair John Sutton’s written response to my correspondence to the Board is:

“An initial meeting has been schedule for negotiations for the collective agreement; and No decision has been made to hire a consultant at this time.” note: typos are not mine.

Candidates/current APSB members Cleminson, Gemmell and Sutton have not answered any questions submitted by readers pertaining to this or any other topic.

Berthiaume, The Board And The Bulls

As mentioned in a previous post, Amherstburg Police Chief Berthiaume’s presentation to the Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG), incorporated the group’s questions about the police contract.

A section of Berthiaume’s presentation includes a slide titled Future Challenges, Contract Negotiations that is followed by:

Slide 18: Does this mean the board is gambling?

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Slide 20 is titled “1 Against 5,” presumably the Board against the 5 contracts.

Police Board Against 5 Bulls A huge bull is prominently displayed in slide 21, with no title, but one can speculate its meaning with the bull’s label: Police Arbitration System Ontario.

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It is unclear if Berthiaume’s presentation represents his position as chief, one of the bulls.

The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) acknowledged some organizations’ position that “Ontario’s arbitration system is broken and needs to be fixed” and how they are very quick to blame the arbitration system for local tax increases saying that “so many of our collective agreements are determined through interest arbitration.”

The PAO’s Interest Arbitration Facts, asks if the criticism is based on facts. The Backgrounder contains one little known fact: The Arbitration Commission is a neutral body that is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. It is balanced by members from both Associations and Police Services Boards.

According to the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission website, its “main function involves the appointment of conciliators and arbitrators to assist police associations and police services boards in the resolution of disputes arising out of the negotiations and administration of their collective agreements. The Arbitration Commission is a neutral body and does not become involved in the issues between the parties and does not influence the outcome of conciliation or arbitration.”

ONTARIO REGULATION 268/10 made under the POLICE SERVICES ACT limits political activity of police officers and since the Chief is not a party to contracts between the Board and the Association, the Board should have answered questions from ratepayers.

Current Council Candidates and Amherstburg Police Services Board members Frank Cleminson, Pauline Gemmell and John Sutton are campaigning, but have not answered questions about the contract: if it is currently being negotiated, if a consultant was hired and if there was a competitive process.

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Candidates Cleminson, Gemmell, Sutton Given Opportunity To Confirm/Deny Police Contract Negotiations Underway

Three candidates for council, currently Amherstburg Police Services Board members, have been given an opportunity to respond to inquiries about the Amherstburg police contract; specifically, if “negotiations are underway for a new collective agreement for amherstburg police service” and if “a consultant has been hired to negotiate the new contract on behalf of the board and if so, if there was a competitive process and if there was, i’d like an electronic copy of the notice/advertisement for a consultant.”

Question 13 For The Candidates Re Police Contract

The following question has been submitted via the feedback form on the Questions page and has been sent to those candidates with email; their answers, if/when they answer, will be posted on the answers page and the document with all answers will be updated.

The Town now is in the process of negotiating a new contract with our local police force. Within this contract (expires Dec 2014) is a clause which if activated could cost our town dearly! What is your knowledge of this buyout clause? what is your understanding of the rational behind the inclusion of it in our contract? What and how many officers would be involved? What would be the cost to our town if enforced one day? From my understanding, we are talking anywhere from 8-10 million dollars would be paid out to officers changing uniforms, not losing jobs? Your thoughts please!

Human Rights Tribunal Hearing Date Set

A public hearing will be held on February 19 and 20, 2015 at Windsor City Hall to decide an Application by James Saxon v. Amherstburg Police Service Board and Amherstburg Police Association regarding an allegation of discrimination because of age.

The Amherstburg Police Service Board requested that the Tribunal dismiss the Application on the basis that a conciliation under the Police Service Act has appropriately dealt with the Application. Alternatively, the Board requested that the Tribunal defer consideration of the Application pending the outcome of collective bargaining between it and the union representing the applicant.

In a June 23, 2014 Interim Decision by the HRTO, the Board’s requests to dismiss or defer the Application were denied.

Amherstburg Police Contract Negotiations Underway?

Amherstburg Police Chief Berthiaume’s power point presentation to the Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG), incorporated the group’s questions about the police contract.

No answers were included so I emailed, “do you have any notes that you could send me whereby you answered the group’s questions?” Berthiaume responded, “No I do not.”

Some of the slides contain clip art images of card-playing smileys and bulls.

Slide 20, titled “1 Against 5” presumably depicts the Board against the 5 contracts. A huge bull is prominently displayed in slide 21; although there is no title, one can speculate its meaning.

Following the presentation, the ACRG noted a correction on its website, “according to the Chief contract negotiations have not yet started; when?”

Amherstburg Police Services Board members were listed: John Sutton, Frank Cleminson, Wayne Hurst, Pauline Gemmell.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario had to address whether an Application by James Saxon alleging discrimination because of age contrary to the Human Rights Code should be deferred pending the outcome of collective bargaining between the Amherstburg Police Services Board and the union representing the applicant.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, in its Interim Decision of June 23, 2014 concluded that “There is no parallel proceeding in this case that is underway that would cause the Tribunal to defer consideration of the Application.”

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Another Candidate Hopeful

Pauline Gemmell joins the list of council candidate hopefuls. The AMHERSTBURG CITIZENS for RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT (ACRG) stated Ms. Gemmell is an Amherstburg Police Services Board member along with fellow APSB members/candidates Sutton and Cleminson. The ACRG also provided a link to the current Amherstburg Police Service collective agreement, including ‘Article 34 OPP Policing.’