Amherstburg Police Association

Most Amherstburg police officers accept offers from Windsor Police Service

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It is becoming a bit clearer what the Amherstburg detachment of the Windsor Police Service will look like.

The deadline on whether or not to accept offers from the Windsor Police Service came Nov. 15 with Amherstburg Police Association president Const. Shawn McCurdy stating that two officers and one civilian member of the staff have opted for severance packages, which will be four weeks pay for every year of service.

“Everyone has accepted a position with Windsor except two uniformed members and one civilian,” confirmed McCurdy.

No names were released on who the three people are, but McCurdy stated they are “senior officers” and one “senior civilian.” He added they are respecting the officers’ and the civilian’s right to privacy at the present time.

“I think we were expecting a couple more,” said McCurdy. “Obviously, leaving a job is a personal decision as I’ve said before.”

The duties of the officers at the Amherstburg detachment once the Windsor Police Service takes over will be determined out of Windsor, McCurdy stated.

McCurdy also pointed out that the Amherstburg Police Services Board and the Amherstburg Police Association have come to an agreement on severance.

“Now, moving forward, it’s pretty much the transition to Windsor for the members who have elected to transfer,” said McCurdy.

Much of the transition will include becoming updated on policies and procedures of the Windsor Police Service with McCurdy stating there will be training on that. That will also include learning Windsor’s record management system.

“We’re all police officers. We all do the same stuff,” said McCurdy. “It’s more administrative stuff as well as policies and procedures.”

McCurdy added the Amherstburg Police Service is grateful for the support of the town and said their service will continue as members of the Windsor Police Service Amherstburg detachment.

“On behalf of my members, we appreciate the community’s support and we look forward to continue serving them in the future,” he said.

Job offers to Amherstburg police officers delayed

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Job offers to Amherstburg police officers were delayed, but it does not appear the delay will be a long one.

Offers from the Windsor Police Service were scheduled to come out last Saturday but now appear to be coming this week instead. Const. Shawn McCurdy, president of the Amherstburg Police Association (APA), said the delay was “for a short period of time” and that was all they were told.

“We received a memo from (Windsor police) Chief Frederick outlining that,” he said.

According to McCurdy, “there was a scheduled job offer and that has been delayed at the request of Mayor DiCarlo.”

McCurdy told the RTT last Thursday that they were scheduled to receive an update yesterday.

“From the information we’re receiving, there’s a disagreement as it relates to severance and the understanding of the arbitrator’s decision,” said McCurdy. “From the association’s perspective, we’re not sure what the disagreement is. We’re quite clear on what it means. Our position is we’re entitled to severance and that has been our position.”

Members who elect not to take a position with the Windsor Police Service would receive four weeks for every year of service, he said. McCurdy added it’s a decision for each individual member to make but he expects most officers to take the offer.

“I am going to accept a position with Windsor. I am not going to accept severance,” said McCurdy. “A majority of employees will be accepting positions. It’s common sense. We can’t go without a job.”

McCurdy noted that he sat on the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC) and that the possibility of severance has existed since last December. He said they are bound by the Police Services Act that all officers would have to have the same collective agreement.

“That’s what this struggle is all about,” he said.

McCurdy added they do not want to dispute anything in the media, and that the APA deals with the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

“That’s who we are going to deal with to resolve this matter,” he said.

“Windsor police has been more than accommodating and professional with us,” McCurdy continued. “This has nothing to do with their side.”

APSB chair Bob Rozankovic confirmed that “offers were delayed but are being delivered to APS this Tuesday and Thursday. The board had not been told why they were delayed. Possibly Town Administration can answer that.”

Rozankovic added that “once formal offers are received, then the process can move forward.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo stated last Friday that he cannot legally discuss any police issues at the current time. He added he could not confirm any issues relating to severance including whether Frederick contacted local officers.

At one of the two hotel announcements the previous week, the mayor stated that severance may only come into play if an Amherstburg officer is asked to take less to stay employed.

“The language in the collective agreement is referred to in the decision. If the town does not equalize or provide equal rank compensation salary, then the severances would kick in,” DiCarlo told the media after the second of two hotel announcements Oct. 19. “We maintain the position if we equalize everything between the two contracts, there would be no severances.”

DiCarlo also stated Oct. 19 that there will be $14-$15 million in savings over the 20-year contract and that there would be savings for the town “no matter what,” even if severances had to be paid out.

 

 

 

OCPC approves town’s request to switch policing to Windsor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It is now official – the Windsor Police Service will be patrolling Amherstburg.

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) has approved the town’s request to dissolve the existing Amherstburg Police Service and contract policing services to Windsor. The OCPC released its decision late Thursday.

“The Commission consents to the Application by the Town and consents to the abolition of the Amherstburg Police Service subject to the following conditions,” the decision from the OCPC read. “The Town must deliver to the Commission a signed copy of the contract with the City of Windsor which substantially implements the proposal” and “written confirmation from the (Amherstburg Police Services) Board that an agreement as to severance pay has been made with any member of the Amherstburg Police Service whose employment is terminated as a result of the abolition. Failing such an agreement, the Town must provide written confirmation to the Commission that an agreement has been made with such members that any severance pay dispute will be referred to arbitration. If no such agreements are made within 120 days of (July 26), the Commission will order that all remaining severance pay disputes will be referred to arbitration.”

The decision by the OCPC came exactly one month after public hearings were held at the Libro Centre where the majority of residents who spoke came out against the switch. It also came one day before the nomination period for the 2018 municipal election closed.

According to a press release issued by the Town of Amherstburg, the Windsor Police Service proposal “proposes that it will deliver significant financial savings to the Town while maintaining and enhancing the current levels of service delivery, building on the exceptional commitment of the APS personal to their home community.”

Amherstburg will incur initial transition costs and then expects to achieve annual cost savings of about $567,000.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the proposed transition date of Jan. 1, 2019 still appears to be on track “barring any unforeseen circumstances.”

DiCarlo said the proposal saw Windsor police “copies much of Amherstburg” and its policing model so if it wasn’t approved, it would have made him wonder what the town was doing wrong. However, it was approved and that eliminated any shock factor for him.

“My first reaction is that I’m not surprised,” said DiCarlo. “The issue was adequate and effective policing. I guess it’s a little bit of relief.”

The contract between Amherstburg and Windsor is “good to go,” he added, and he noted the conditions laid out by the OCPC. According to the mayor, there is nothing further that town council has to approve as he said the most recent motion essentially approved the switch pending OCPC approval.

“Council was aware at the time we were getting everything we asked for in the contract,” said DiCarlo.

The issues now are to get started on the transition, he added.

“I think the biggest message at this point is we are still committed to making the transition as seamless as possible and make sure all the parties are taken care of,” said DiCarlo.

Const. Shawn McCurdy, president of the Amherstburg Police Association, was also not taken aback by the decision.

“I’m not surprised,” he told the RTT Friday morning.

McCurdy said knowing the criteria and that the OCPC was looking for adequate and effective policing, he was not shocked by their decision.

“Our next step is going to be making sure every member is dealt with fairly under the law and go from there,” said McCurdy.

That could include looking at the job offers from Windsor, severance pay and any other issue that could arise.

“We’ll take whatever legal action is appropriate under the circumstances,” said McCurdy. “I don’t know what that looks like at this point.”

There has been some “mixed reaction” from the APA membership, he added.

“From our perspective, we’re going to continue to provide adequate and effective policing for the community,” McCurdy stated. “We’ll move forward. We have to.”

The Windsor Police Service issued a press release on the matter late Friday morning.

“The Windsor Police Service is excited about the opportunity to provide policing services for the Town of Amherstburg. The Windsor Police Service is committed to providing the residents of Amherstburg the exceptional service they have come to expect, with numerous enhancements on the horizon,” Windsor Chief Al Frederick stated in the release.

According to Windsor police, “this decision marks the beginning of an important partnership that will benefit the citizens of both Windsor and Amherstburg. Through the dedication of our officers and civilian staff, the Windsor Police Service offers outstanding community support and effective policing within our diverse communities.  Our members, which will include Amherstburg officers and civilian staff, are guided by our vision of making a difference in the communities we serve.”

The Windsor Police Service stated that it would like to “thank the many residents of Amherstburg who shared their opinions on policing and public safety.” Windsor police say the “collective effort brought about a great partnership. Moving forward we will continue to collaborate with the Town and its residents to meet the policing expectations of the community and enhance public safety.”

The Windsor Police Service calls it “an exciting partnership that benefits the entire region.”

Town council voted by a 3-2 vote Feb. 26 to contract policing out to the Windsor Police Service. It will be a 20-year contract with options to review every five years.

(NOTE: This story has been updated from its original version with comments from the Windsor Police Service.)

 

Legal fees questioned by councillor who also had legal fees

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Councillor Diane Pouget was one of two members of council whose legal fees were part of the accounts payable that appeared on Monday night’s agenda, but she had questions about others.

Pouget declared a conflict of interest on the portion of the accounts payable that saw her having paid $500 to the Leardi Law Firm for legal advice regarding her being able to discuss the upcoming issue of whether or not to stick with the Amherstburg Police Service or switch to the Windsor Police Service.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale also received advice from the firm headed by Anthony Leardi, the latter being a former municipal politician himself.

“My name is in there and rightly so and the deputy mayor’s name is in there and rightly so,” said Pouget

The questions raised by Pouget were not about those fees, but rather with $27,000 in legal fees attributed to the Amherstburg Police Association. Pouget wondered why there was no firm listed for the association.

“Residents have a right to know what public money is being used for,” said Pouget.

Treasurer Justin Rousseau said it was a reimbursement to the Amherstburg Police Association for fees that occurred and that a private and confidential memo was circulated to town council members.

“This settled a grievance,” Chief Tim Berthiaume told town council. “We can’t reveal who the firm was representing.”

Councillor Jason Lavigne, a member of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB), said elected officials are required to report such fees to residents but the town never reveals who employees are or outside parties.

Berthiaume suggested getting a legal opinion to see what further information could be reported to council with Lavigne adding the motion was simply to receive the report.

Pouget said she could not vote in favour with the accounts payable listed as it was.

“I have the utmost respect for the Amherstburg Police Services Board and the Amherstburg Police Association,” she said, though noted “I just can’t vote for it.”

Voting in favour to receive the accounts payable were Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and councillors Lavigne, Leo Meloche, Joan Courtney and Rick Fryer. Pouget was opposed. DiPasquale was absent.