How Then-Candidate Jason Lavigne Answered About OPP Costing

For the first time in an election campaign, the burg watch provided a forum for Amherstburg residents to submit questions to council candidates in 2014.

As a result, questions were raised about police costings, a hot topic given the amount of debt the municipality burdened its ratepayers with.

Of those that were elected, here’s how they answered:

Question 6. Obtain OPP Costing, Remove Contract Clause

Q. 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?

A. I believe there should be a cost comparison between the opp and our local service done. In order to get a true idea of the possible cost savings the “poison pill” needs to be addressed. Unfortunately this can only be done by the police services board and not council. There are currently 3 members of the police service board running in this election, residents should be questioning these 3 candidates in regards to this issue.

Question 13. Police Contract Buyout Clause

A. No answer.

Question 18. Eliminate Police Contract Poison Pill Clause

A. No answer.

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

Jason Lavigne Answers Questions 5 To 8

Jason Lavigne’s answers are:

5.  Bring Heritage District To Amherstburg
I support the idea of implementing a heritage district.

6.  Obtain OPP Costing, Remove Contract Clause
I believe there should be a cost comparison between the opp and our local service done. In order to get a true idea of the possible cost savings the “poison pill” needs to be addressed. Unfortunately this can only be done by the police services board and not council. There are currently 3 members of the police service board running in this election, residents should be questioning these 3 candidates in regards to this issue.

7.  Tourism Role; 1 Million Dollar Budget
The tourism dept. needs to reduce its budget along with all other departments. I believe tourism plays a role in Amherstburg’s success, but it needs to be something that doesn’t cost the taxpayers more than it generates for the local economy.

8.  Curtail Spending; Pay Debt; Reduce Budget
In order to get the finances in order at budget time every dept. needs to aim for 5% reductions. Council will also have to look at administration to see if any savings can be found through attrition or restructuring.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Jason Lavigne Answers Questions 1 through 4

In response to questions 1 through 6, posted on the Questions page, Jason Lavigne answered:

1.  It is no secret that the current mayor and CAO have difficulties leading the corporation and are extremely confrontational with not only employees but also members of the public. The leadership has been lacking and this will hopefully be corrected with a new mayor and council. The tools to run a successful company are already in place, Amherstburg ran smoothly with little employee turnover before the current council.

2.  
I believe this question is similar to question 1 and the answer is also similar. Yes I believe there is currently a toxic work environment at town hall. New leadership will hopefully correct the unhealthy relationship between council and administration.

3.  
I gave a presentation to council in January asking for a full audit and presented over 500 signatures on a petition supporting this request. I still agree that a full audit was required. I believe everyone knows that the current and last council overspent with no concern for tax dollars which is the main reason Amherstburg is in the current situation. The difficulty that now exists is that there is no money left to spend. $100,000 was spent on the financial review. A full audit would likely cost double that. It will be a difficult decision for the new council, choosing to spend more money to make sure every dollar was properly accounted for, or move on from the negative financial mess and learn from the mistakes making sure the proper safeguards are now in place.

4.  The deadline for additions to Monday council meetings should be changed from Friday to a day earlier in the week. As well the current delegation rule requiring 1 week prior notice should be changed to correspond with the agenda deadline.