Amherstburg Police Services Board Decided On Cheap Silver Badge

Commentary by Linda Saxon

You might recall the March 14, 2015 post, Amherstburg Police – A Cheap And Shameful Sendoff regarding Sgt. Jim Saxon’s differential treatment and how, unlike other retiring police officers, he received a cheap silver badge instead of the traditional gold.

At that time, I stated, “To treat one of their own officers with such disdain instigates nothing but disrespect and disgust from me.”

At that time I was unaware of some information, for example, who made the decision. I recently learned from a reputable source that two sets of badges were ordered – one in silver for all retiring officers in 2013/2014 and another in gold for everyone but Sgt. Saxon.

I emailed Mayor DiCarlo today to express my disgust; that it’s a disgraceful send off and, in my opinion, illustrates a lack of professionalism and enmity by the decision maker.

Mayor DiCarlo confirmed that it was a Board decision and he did anticipate it might be an issue.

A more detailed history can be found at bullyinginpolicing.com.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board members, as listed on the town’s website were:

as of November 18, 2014
Councillor John Sutton
Frank Cleminson
Pauline Gemmell
Wayne Hurst

as of December 16, 2014
Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, successful municipal candidate
Councillor Jason Lavigne, successful municipal candidate
Pauline Gemmell, Chair, unsuccessful muncipal candidate
Frank Cleminson, unsuccessful muncipal candidate

as of January 20, 2015
Mayor Aldo DiCarlo

Councillor Jason Lavigne
Pauline Gemmell
Frank Cleminson
Patricia Simone

as of March 17, 2015
Mayor Aldo DiCarlo
Councillor Jason Lavigne 
Pauline Gemmell
Patricia Simone
Robert Rozankovic

I remember some campaign promises to be responsible, accountable, transparent, etc. Wayne Hurst did not run.

The following quotes were published in the River Town Times during the 2014 campaign:

John Sutton “At the end of the day, we’ve had enough negativity,” he said. “For every challenge we have, let’s turn it into opportunity, put our best foot forward so we are in the paper for all the right reasons.”

Aldo DiCarlo A need for greater transparency, accountability and fixing the town’s finances are among the top priority for Aldo DiCarlo. “Why aren’t we discussing everything openly?” he said. “In any decisions being made, I’ll make them for the people who elected me as mayor,” he pledged. “If people are telling me something is wrong, I will address it. Period,” he said.

Jason Lavigne “I tried to educate myself on how things run and how you do things properly. I learned a great deal over the last four years.”

Pauline Gemmell “You have to be open-minded and listen to positions others have as well,” said Gemmell.

Frank Cleminson “I want to bring a team approach to council. I want transparency, accountability and a good dialogue on all the issues that come before us.” While it is fine to debate and disagree on issues, he said that animosity must not occur.

Robert Rozankovic “I see a lot of petty bickering,” said Rozankovic, who questions if council members vote with their colleagues and personal agendas. “Once the road is decided upon, you leave all the pettiness behind. You can’t continue with the bickering because you don’t agree with the decision.”

Not surprisingly, some of the board minutes are not posted and it is unknown when the decision was made.

New Amherstburg Police Services Board Tight-Lipped About Legal Fees

In a previous post, I set out a chronology of my ignored request to the previous Amherstburg Police Services Board for the legal cost to the board/taxpayer for the Board’s defence of an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Application for age discrimination by Sgt. J. Saxon; he was denied life insurance, short and long term disability benefits when he reached 60, contrary to the Code and despite there being no cost.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board considered my request at its March 17, 2015 meeting and decided that “legal costs relative to specific matters are privileged information. The only information available to the public is overall legal costs.”

To quote the fictional Blackadder, “utter crap!”

The Amherstburg Police Services Board, as of the 2014 municipal election, consists of:

  • Pauline Gemmell, Chair, unsuccessful muncipal candidate
  • Frank Cleminson, unsuccessful muncipal candidate
  • Robert Rozankovic, unsuccessful muncipal candidate
  • Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, successful municipal candidate
  • Councillor Jason Lavigne, successful municipal candidate

What happened to accountability and transparency?

Commentary by Linda Saxon

No Commitment To Remove OPP Clause In Police Contract

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Readers of the burg watch have submitted three separate questions regarding the contentious Amherstburg police contract clause about switching specifically to OPP policing.

Current Police Services Board member and mayoral candidate John Sutton has not answered any questions, nor has current Police Services Board member and council candidate Frank Cleminson.

Current Police Services Board member and council candidate Pauline Gemmell responded, but did not answer specific questions or commit to the removal of the clause.

Regarding Gemmell’s statement, “The buyout clause is outlined in the contract. As with any corporation preparing to lay off large numbers (this would be situation here) the Employment Standards Act prescribes the basic requirements for any payout,” follow up questions were emailed: are you suggesting that there would be lay offs at the police service? can you provide me with the section of the Employment Standards Act that prescribes the basic requirements for any such payout?

Gemmell’s response is, “The ESA provides for basic but in the case of a contract those requirements are typically more than what ESA provides. Have you spoken to Chief Berthieume about this? He is very helpful when anyone from the public asks questions.”

The three questions in full, along with Gemmell’s responses are:

Question 6:  If elected, will you commit to council obtaining an OPP costing and if appointed to the police services board, will you commit to removing the OPP takeover clause in the police contract? If running for re-election, why did you not consider doing the above?

The current costing model for OPP is changing and as such will be difficult to get a clear cost for OPP at this time. I think that council should always be looking at the cost of all services and be looking to less expensive and equal quality alternatives. We have a great Police service here in Amherstburg and there are many benefits that we enjoy as a result of having a local police service. Our officers are skilled and dedicated to this community.

Question 13: 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!

I believe that our Police provide an excellent service. The buyout clause is outlined in the contract. As with any corporation preparing to lay off large numbers (this would be situation here) the Employment Standards Act prescribes the basic requirements for any payout. Beyond that the town would be required to honor provisions found in the contract.

We have a good and effective police service in our community. The cost factor needs to be discussed once the negotiations but other factors also must be considered along with the cost factor. It’s important that we all know what would be the result of having OPP in our community instead of our own police services. We need to look to other communities who have done this. Where are the officers dispatched from? There is a new costing formula and that also needs to be considered.

Question 18:  Do you believe the Poison Pill Clause should be eliminated in the Police Contract in order to get an OPP costing to compare the costs of policing of OPP versus Amherstburg Police.

Having a costing for alternative services is not dependent on a clause in a contract. The police services is currently beginning to prepare to negotiate a new contract and as such this is something that should be considered during these negotiations.