Town to pay out nearly $800,000 in severance after council agrees to pay officers

 

 

By Ron Giofu

Town council has mandated that two police officers not accepting jobs with the Windsor Police Service and leaving the profession will in fact get severance.

Amherstburg Police Services Board chair Bob Rozankovic told the River Town Times that he had received an e-mail from CAO John Miceli earlier in the day advising that is the direction that he was given by town council. One of the officers involved left Dec. 22 and the other Dec. 27, thus they didn’t stay until Dec. 31 and that is believed to have prompted the controversy.

Town council met in-camera for roughly 90 minutes Dec. 19. Following that meeting, Miceli told the media he had received direction from town council.

Rozankovic said when he received word the next morning, he was not surprised.

“I got the communication from the CAO this morning that he had been ordered to pay out the severance as per the Amherstburg Police Services Board’s direction,” he said. “The story had been written. We knew what the end result was going to be.”

Rozankovic said he had learned earlier this week that severance payments were not going to be paid to two of the three people not accepting the job offers from Windsor. The civilian member was scheduled to receive payment.

“At that point, I contacted certain members of council and asked them to call a council meeting,” said Rozankovic.

Rozankovic said board representatives and members of the Amherstburg Police Association would attend if there were questions, with the board being represented by himself and the association by Const. Shawn McCurdy and Const. Steve Owen. None were part of the in-camera meeting and stayed at town hall until its conclusion, though no member of council or administration asked questions of them.

“Council had it well in hand and understood things,” said Rozankovic, adding “the board was never unsure of its legal position.”

The conclusion that council arrived at was a relief, he said

“We are glad it was done before the holidays so everyone could enjoy it,” he said. “Everyone wanted to have a good Christmas.”

Rozankovic estimated the total amount to be paid to be $800,000, with about $679,000 being severances to the officers. The other amount is due to top-up pay, benefit premiums and other expenses, he indicated.

“The board feels vindicated in that we’ve spoken the truth from when the process started earlier this year,” he said. “From the start, we’ve said between $0 and $2.4 million with the final amount being dependent on the what the officers elected.”

When word that the severances were ordered to be paid, the RTT left a pair of voicemails for Miceli but they were not returned as of press time.

According to AM800 News, Miceli said it is his job to make sure these kinds of issues are raised before council.

“In regard to those two individuals, if they left the organization prior to Dec. 31, if they were actually eligible for severance because the collective agreement still runs until Dec. 31,” the CAO told the Windsor radio station, adding that final amounts will be determined by the employment records of the officers.

Miceli also told AM800 the outcome was better than he anticipated.

“The police board was suggesting anywhere north of $2 million so it’s a significantly less amount, the contract’s still going to save the taxpayers of Amherstburg millions and millions of dollars,” he said.

There was considerable debate before going in-camera at last Wednesday afternoon’s meeting. Town council actually rejected the initial motion to go in-camera.

Councillor Patricia Simone suggested a public meeting on the concept of severance with clerk Paula Parker stating that while a meeting with general information was possible, she cautioned that the town would walk a “slippery slope” by going that route.

Councillor Donald McArthur said people were contacting him and he had no information to give them at that point.

“It’s very difficult to navigate this without the information,” he said.

Miceli told council before they approved the second attempt at going in-camera that “we are at a difference of opinion” on the information that was presented. He stated that he wanted an opportunity to present his information, stating at that point that council had only heard one side of the story.

 

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