Shameful Lack Of Transparency – Amherstburg Police Costing

Shame on council and the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) for indicating a commitment to an open and transparent process but instead meeting in camera.

As the Ombudsman concluded, there was no exception that would have allowed council or the JPAC to hold these discussions in closed session.

CAO Miceli initially informed Council the JPAC should be formed as a first step to ensure an open and transparent process for the review of policing options. (emphasis added)

Miceli presented to council the OACP Process Guidebook – Critical Success Factors flow chart indicating public consultation prior to issuing an RFP. The JPAC discussed public consultation for determination of preferred services, bringing the results of the public consultation back to Council for consideration and direction on the development of the RFP.

The RTT reported Miceli said he wanted to solicit information from the public before an RFP is issued, “That, to me, is the critical driver.”

CAO Miceli would not confirm if any Ministry Advisors, as mentioned in the OACP Guidebook, were involved in the police costing process. If a consultant was to be hired, an RFP for Consulting services should have been issued. MPM Consulting attended the inaugural JPAC meeting and was subsequently hired.

The MPM Consulting Proposal to the JPAC noted, “the Committee has determined that the first phase of the project must begin with the community consultations identified in section 6.4 of the mandate.”

Section 6.4: “To conduct community consultations to solicit feedback,             identifying community needs & expectations and to inform Council of the identified needs and expectations as collected during the process”

MPM Consulting also advised the JPAC he would like to prepare a rough draft of the RFP to present to the committee before public consultation.

Instead of adhering to the OACP Guidebook and soliciting public consultation, the JPAC and Council excluded the public to discuss the RFP in camera.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo’s three July 10, 2017 letters to the Minister, Windsor and LaSalle, attached to the RFP, stated a commitment “to ensure the process we follow is fair, transparent, and comprehensive.” (emphasis added)

Ultimately, public consultation was held after the decision that the Windsor Proposal was viable. Residents were limited to subjective and emotional input because, to this day, the Windsor Proposal has not been disclosed as promised.

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, Paula Parker, Town Clerk advised it was not posted publicly as it contained a confidentiality clause. But, as the Ombudsman noted, there was no closed meeting exception that generally allowed a municipality to proceed in camera to protect the confidential information of a third party.

November 3 Council Meeting On, Off, On And Off Again

Commentary by Linda Saxon

An October 20 post that the November 3 meeting would be held was subsequent to a petition to Paula Parker to call a special meeting following Mayor Wayne Hurst’s postponement of meetings.

A day later, the town posted a notice on its website that the November 3 meeting was postponed and rescheduled to Monday, November 17, 2014.

Are the Municipal Act and the town’s procedural by-law both not being complied with? Both are quite clear and specifically contain a mandatory clause for when the clerk shall call a meeting:

Section 240. of the Act: Subject to the procedure by-law passed under section 238,
(b) upon receipt of a petition of the majority of the members of council, the clerk shall call a special meeting for the purpose and at the time mentioned in the petition.

Procedural By-Law Section 9. b) the clerk shall summon a special meeting upon receipt of a petition of the majority of the council members for the purpose and at the time and date mentioned in the petition.

The issue is not the Mayor’s postponement, but who is making decisions that circumvent Council members’ legislated authority to call a Special Meeting and what will be done about it.

Craig Pearson, The Windsor Star, reports CAO Miceli also said that, after discussing the councillors’ petition with a town lawyer, he determined a special meeting was not warranted. “I advised all the members of council that calling for a special meeting is not to deal with regular town business,” Miceli said. “It’s to deal with special issues. What they (the councillors) proposed to discuss at that meeting did not meet the criteria for a special meeting.”

Special meetings of council 2014 were held to consider issues ranging from zoning by-law amendments and drain improvements to the Sale of Shares Offer from Entegrus Inc.

Since there is no criteria for a special meeting in either the Municipal Act or Procedural By-Law, and since both contain clear language, I would argue that there is no basis whatsoever for any objection to a majority of council calling a special meeting.