FOI Access To Windsor Policing Proposal Denied

Mayor DiCarlo advised me the OPP and Windsor responses would be made public after the consultant and steering committee reviewed the responses and council received the reports.

However, as mentioned in this post, Town Clerk Paula Parker advised I would have to request it from Windsor Police Services directly. On June 11, the Windsor Police Privacy Coordinator advised I must make an access request, pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information Act.

The Windsor Police Service has denied access to the proposal in its entirety, citing the following exemptions:

Law enforcement

8 (1) A head may refuse to disclose a record if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to, 

(c) reveal investigative techniques and procedures currently in use or likely to be used in law enforcement;

(e) endanger the life or physical safety of a law enforcement officer or any other person;

(g) interfere with the gathering of or reveal law enforcement intelligence information respecting organizations or persons;

(l) facilitate the commission of an unlawful act or hamper the control of crime.

Third party information

10 (1) A head shall refuse to disclose a record that reveals a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence implicitly or explicitly, if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to,

(a) prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization;

Economic and other interests

11 A head may refuse to disclose a record that contains,

(c) information whose disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the economic interests of an institution or the competitive position of an institution;

(f) plans relating to the management of personnel or the administration of an institution that have not yet been put into operation or made public;

(g) information including the proposed plans, policies or projects of an institution if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to result in premature disclosure of a pending policy decision or undue financial benefit or loss to a person;

Application of Act

52

(3) Subject to subsection (4), this Act does not apply to records collected, prepared, maintained or used by or on behalf of an institution in relation to any of the following:

1. Proceedings or anticipated proceedings before a court, tribunal or other entity relating to labour relations or to the employment of a person by the institution.

2. Negotiations or anticipated negotiations relating to labour relations or to the employment of a person by the institution between the institution and a person, bargaining agent or party to a proceeding or an anticipated proceeding.

3. Meetings, consultations, discussions or communications about labour relations or employment-related matters in which the institution has an interest.

Ombudsman: Council And Joint Police Advisory Committee Wrong To Discuss RFP In Camera

The Ombudsman has issued its Report into complaints about meetings of council and the Joint Police Advisory Committee for the Town of Amherstburg in 2017 and 2018.

The Ombudsman’s opinion included:

At the time of these meetings, there was no exception that would have allowed council or the JPAC to hold these discussions in closed session.

The JPAC violated the town’s Local Boards/Committees – Terms of Reference when it discussed the police costing RFP in closed session on June 1, June 22, July 6 and December 7, 2017. Failing to comply with these terms of reference was wrong under s. 21(1)(d) of the Ombudsman Act. The discussion about the request for proposals did not fit within the “security of the property” exception or any of the exceptions provided in the Local Boards/Committees – Terms of Reference.

Council for the Town of Amherstburg contravened the Municipal Act when it discussed the police costing RFP in closed session on July 10, 2017. 

Severance Arrangements For Amherstburg Police

Media reports indicated no severances were to be negotiated since no officers would lose employment.

CAO Miceli even noted in his Report to Council, “In the Proposal severance is not payable as all staff will be assumed by the WPS.”

The severance issue is well established in practice – compensation is provided for job loss so should not be applicable here.

Do our elected officials feel Amherstburg Police officers deserve compensation for maintaining employment?

Councillor Rick Fryer’s media comment should serve as a reminder, “We do have fiduciary responsibilities as a council.”

Councillor Meloche Responds To Questions About OPP Costing

Councillor Meloche’s response:

Given that you directed an inquiry to all Council members, I will comment.
I concur with the Mayor’s comments in his response to you.

In my discussion with residents, the OPP costing model was of concern because it was difficult to quantify the level of policing they would provide. A member of the Essex Town Council even told me directly that we should not expect the same level of policing with the OPP. In the end, their model did not fit our requirements as set out in our RFP and therefore made the decision to decline our RFP. Windsor Police on the other hand were accommodating to the level of service we were seeking.

I trust you have received satisfactory responses to your questions.

Editor’s Note: Then- candidate Meloche never answered any of the burgwatch questions from residents during the 2014 campaign regarding the OPP costing. Actually, the decision to decline the RFP was based on a Ministry approved protocol. Would it not have been more prudent for an elected representative to meet with the OPP to dispel myths instead of being influenced by opinion?

Mayor DiCarlo Responds To Questions About OPP Costing

Mayor DiCarlo copied my questions and responded below each of them.

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

The OPP were given the opportunity to provide a costing under Council’s agreed upon process of an RFP to ensure equivalent service levels.  An information session that did not meet Council’s direction of an RFP would not have been appropriate.

Editor’s Note: An information session should have been deemed appropriate in response to council’s motions to obtain an OPP costing, work with the OPP and Mayor DiCarlo’s statement to the Ministry: “I will be pleased to provide any additional information that your Ministry may require. We look forward to working collaboratively with OPP staff members and representatives from nearby municipalities to ensure the process we follow is fair, transparent, and comprehensive.” Instead of relying on hearsay from other municipalities, the OPP would have provided factual information and clarification if anyone was uninformed.

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?

The meeting of February 26th was when the letter was made public to the residents.  Council was aware of the OPP’s position prior to that date.

Editor’s Note: my FOI request to the town, because the mayor would not respond re my request for the letter, was for “the town council meeting agenda and minutes wherein the letter was presented and discussed.” How did council become aware of the OPP’s position before the February 26, 2018 meeting if it was not presented or discussed at any other meeting? Was there an in-camera meeting I was not advised of?

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

As stated above, the OPP were given a resolution from council that requested a costing based on the Town’s RFP model.  There was no need or direction to provide any other resolutions.

Editor’s Note: council’s motions to obtain an OPP costing and work with the OPP were never rescinded to the best of my knowledge. CAO Miceli never answered my question about it.

DiCarlo: To be clear, to date, I have only heard from 2 residents that I recall on the preference to consider the OPP costing model.  Perhaps the other members of council have heard from more, that is for them to share.  The majority of the residents of Amherstburg that I’ve heard from have made it clear that they were not interested in the OPP’s model of policing.  Should that change, the issue can always be revisited.  In the meanwhile, I believe a reasonable amount of time has been spent in answering the questions you posed, but there is a considerable amount of other business that also needs attention.

Editor’s Note: I did not ask about any residents’ preferences however, the original motion to obtain an OPP costing in December 2014 was the result of an election issue, which Mayor DiCarlo addressed during the campaign when he stated, in part, RE OPP costing, “What I can say, what I know, is that the current board didn’t do their due diligence in acquiring the information for us to make an educated decision on what would be best for the town…information that would have been ‘free’. 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.”

The majority of residents expressed an interest to maintain the Amherstburg Police Service, but Mayor DiCarlo voted in favour of Windsor’s proposal.

Responding to media requests is part of the position and time commitment Mayor DiCarlo campaigned for: that’s what accountability and transparency is.

Update: Shortly after Council’s 2014 motion to obtain an OPP costing, the Windsor Star reported, “We’ve had plenty of residents say, why don’t we have OPP? And in the long run, the answer might be, well here’s why and we’re not going to.” DiCarlo said. “But up to now, because no one’s asked for the costing, (we haven’t) been able to say the difference between these two.”

February 2016, the RTT reported, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said they are working on bringing a representative of the OPP to council to explain the process. Lavigne added they hope to bring police services board representatives from OPP jurisdictions to Amherstburg to speak to council on their experiences.

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.

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.

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.