Bob Rozankovic

Mixed bag of viewpoints at logo public meeting

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A crowd of about 20 people attended the public consultation session at the Libro Centre regarding the proposed new logos with varying opinions on which one they liked best.

Cinnamon Toast New Media, led by owner/creative director Bronwyn Mondoux, made a presentation to parks and recreation committee members and heritage committee members followed by another presentation to the public last Saturday at the Libro Centre. At the public meeting, Mondoux brought forth the results of the “Talk the Burg” survey, which had 558 responses and 468 of those identifying as being from Amherstburg. Eighty tourists replied while ten identified as local business owners.

About 47 per cent of the residents liked “Option B,” which was the stylized “A” logo while 37 per cent of the tourists liked “Option A,” which was the original logo brought forth to council in mid-January.

“Option C,” the other logo that was presented after the council meeting with buildings and waves in it, was the second favourite of both residents and tourists, Mondoux reported. The least liked logo in both groups was the simplified version of the original logo.

Logos discussed include Option A (left), Option A simplified (centre),Option B (top right) and Option C (below right).

Option A will be the one that will again be recommended to town council for adoption, as Cinnamon Toast New Media believes that is the one that will connect with millennials and also will address the town’s strategic plan and values as well as what was in the original Request for Proposals (RFP).

Norm Mickle said of Option A that “I don’t understand the logo concept at all” and that Option B looked too similar to that of the Amherstburg Admirals’ logo. Mickle said that Amherstburg is a town that “pioneers new things” and that “we do things here that other towns follow.” He didn’t believe the logos he referenced would inspire tourism or businesses to move here.

“My personal feeling is that neither of these do any of that,” said Mickle.

CAO John Miceli said the town’s Official Plan that was adopted in 2009 outlines the economic importance of tourism “and how important it is to the growth of this town.”

“We got this right back in 2009,” he said. “It’s been ten years and no one did a thing.”

Miceli admitted he wasn’t a fan of Option A at first and preferred Option C. However, he said Option A captured everything the town was looking for in a logo.

“We’re trying to develop tourism as an industry,” he said. “We’ve said since 2009 that we should be doing this.”

Gord Freeman pointed out local artist Elio Del Col designed a logo several years ago that didn’t get off the ground. He believed the consultants should have been given copies of the two-volume book series on Amherstburg to get an education on what the town is about.

“I am not in favour of rebranding. We are the brand here,” said Freeman. “We are recognized in the province. We are the historic heart of southwestern Ontario. Pretty much no one else has what we have, except Sandwich possibly.”

Nancy Atkinson said she circulated the originally proposed logo to family and friends who questioned what it was. She added that when she vacations, “never do I look for a logo.” Atkinson added that she doesn’t understand why the logo is so important and that festivals “are awesome and speak better for all of us.”

Bob Rozankovic questioned why the recommendation supports the 37 per cent of 80 tourist respondents, rather than the responses from the residents.

“This doesn’t make sense,” said Rozankovic. “Shouldn’t the new logo carry the approval of the residents first and foremost?”

Rozankovic added “a logo will never draw tourists here. I’ve travelled the world – a logo doesn’t do it.”

Former councillor Diane Pouget pointed out that she voted against the $76,000 branding expenditure because “I think it’s a waste of money.” She believed that a logo design could have been found within the community and not by hiring a firm from outside of Amherstburg.

“We could have done it with high school students,” said Pouget, adding “I have not heard of anyone that likes it.”

Pouget added that she was previously at the committee meeting and reported they were having difficulty achieving consensus.

Sarah Gibb believed there was too much focus on the town logo and that it’s “one piece of the puzzle.” She added she plans her family’s vacations and uses online tools such as new websites to do it.

“It’s a bigger picture item,” she believed, of the branding strategy. Gibb added that “we need to attract people here” over other local municipalities.

“I want them to come here,” she said.

Gord Freeman pointed out the town had a new logo designed several years ago by Elio DelCol.

Janet Willoughby supported Option A, believing that “it makes us unique.” She added that logo will look good on a t-shirt or mug and that the colours were nice as well.

Mondoux noted the logo helps “set the tone” but noted there are other components of the branding project to come, including the new tourism website.

“This is going to turn into so many pieces,” she said.

Anne Rota, the town’s manager of tourism and culture, also said the logo “is a small piece” and there is a “beautiful, beautiful website that is coming.”
“Let’s not get stuck on the logo,” she said, though added the recommended option “has a piece of what everyone wanted in a very edgy way.”

Both the town and Cinnamon Toast New Media revealed that the new logo will not replace the current town crest, the latter still said to be in the plans for more official documentation and will stay on town vehicles.

“Perhaps we should have done a better job communicating that,” said Rota.

The matter will appear before town council again Feb. 25.

Dispute over unpaid money to former Amherstburg police officers continues

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A dispute over unpaid money to officers with the former Amherstburg Police Service is ongoing and the officers are looking for answers as well as their cash.

Const. Shawn McCurdy, who was president of the former Amherstburg Police Association, said officers are still awaiting funds relating to overtime that was earned last year, statutory and vacation time earned in 2018, sick time pay and salary top-ups, with severance pay also having been delayed.

McCurdy, now a director with the Windsor Police Association, said “it’s very frustrating that council decided to disband the (Amherstburg Police Services) Board” as that is the body the association dealt with. He said the money was owed was approved prior to the disbandment of the Amherstburg Police Service but now the officers have to go through the town.

As for the town, McCurdy stated “they’re not saying much” and that there is an “obvious breakdown in communication.”

Reports that officers are “satisfied” with how the process is unfolding are “completely inaccurate,” McCurdy added.

“No one is satisfied they have to sit and wait for earnings they are entitled to,” he said.

McCurdy added that had the Amherstburg Police Service not been disbanded, the money would have been paid by now “no questions asked.” Though Amherstburg police has disbanded, the time was still on the books and has to be paid, he stated.

“It’s extremely frustrating we are being treated this way,” said McCurdy. “It’s very disheartening and disrespectful that we have to wait such a long time and we haven’t been told anything.”

Bob Rozankovic, who was the final chair of the Amherstburg Police Services Board, said that there was council representation on the board and pointed out that legally, administration could not be part of the process previously. He noted that per the Police Services Act (PSA), administration could not be part of the process but noted via a Facebook post, in which he shared with the RTT, that the town “was advised they could apply for ‘standing’ at the arbitration hearing. They chose not to because they knew the request would be turned down by the OCPC.”

According to Rozankovic, the process is that the officer works overtime, the sergeant approves it, the chief audits it.

“This process has been in place for years and administration has always received and paid these amounts as of year-end,” he stated. “Administration was given the same information this year as every year.”

Rozankovic stated the APSB followed the same protocols as laid out in the PSA “with no deviation” and alleged that it is “the CAO and mayor that want to work outside the rules.” He added that the overall estimated payout was provided to the Joint Police Advisory Committee (JPAC), CAO John Miceli and town council in February 2018.

“Everything has been documented along the way and still there are those who choose to believe the mayor and the CAO,” Rozankovic charged.

The APSB decided to go to arbitration to ensure that the correct decisions were being made by the APSB, he stated.

Rozankovic accused Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Miceli of bringing “shame on this town with their antics” and believed they “should be held accountable in whatever way possible.”

DiCarlo said the town is awaiting supporting documents and has to have them before anything is paid out.

“We would like to pay out the required costs and finalize this so we can move on,” said DiCarlo. “The town has a number of financial reporting obligations and we have to follow the appropriate accounting procedures and that’s what we are trying to do.”

DiCarlo disagreed that had the police service not been disbanded, that the money would have already been paid out.

“We would be asking for the same information,” he claimed.

The town was in a financial crisis four years ago and DiCarlo stated the Deloitte report recommended having such reporting documentation.

“Without the appropriate information the town needs, the people being disrespected the most are the taxpayers,” DiCarlo told the RTT. “We have an obligation and we are trying to meet those obligations. If (the officers) feel disrespected, I can’t help that. All we’re asking is ‘where are the records?’ We are absolutely trying to pay out what is required but can only pay out what we can substantiate.”

DiCarlo added: “I’m comfortable with the town’s position. We are following the proper protocols that we have to follow.”

 

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.

 

Town council takes no action on integrity commissioner recommendations

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of reports recommending sanctions against council members in two unrelated integrity commissioner investigations has seen no action taken against either council member.

Integrity commissioner Bruce Elman recommended that Councillor Jason Lavigne’s remuneration be suspended for 45 days with council not only rejecting that but also to suspend his pay for one month.

According to Elman’s report, he investigated alleged leaks that came out of a Sept. 10 in-camera meeting and believed that by “circumstantial information” that it proved to be Lavigne who committed the leak. Lavigne has vehemently denied that accusation.

Elman said two of the four council members at that meeting – councillors Leo Meloche and Rick Fryer -would have had no reason to contact Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) chair Bob Rozankovic with information. He said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was “outraged” by the leak, leaving only Lavigne.

Elman also referred to two calls placed by Lavigne to clerk Paula Parker about in-camera information and the discussion thereof. He also stated that Lavigne and Rozankovic were not co-operative during the investigation and that Lavigne refused to sign a “Statement of Assurance.”

“Councillor Lavigne’s reluctance to meet to discuss the disclosure of the confidential information – the first time that this has happened to me in the eight years I have been doing integrity work – leads me to the strong inference that Councillor Lavigne was the individual who leaked the information from the in-camera council meeting to Bob Rozankovic,” Elman wrote in his report.

Elman stated in his report that he wrote to Rozankovic by e-mail a total of eight times.

“Each time I was either rebuffed or put off to some future time. Finally, on Oct. 24, he indicated that he would not speak to me on the pretense that ‘the agenda behind this investigation is lacking in legitimacy.’ I responded that “there is no ‘agenda’ behind this investigation; nor is it ‘lacking in legitimacy.’”

Elman told town council he believed the investigation could have been avoided if the information was shared from the beginning.

“Either one of them could have stood up and said this is how it happened and this is why it happened and we’re sorry,” said Elman.

Pouget pointed out that the mayor was supposed to contact an investigator to look into administration’s role but that has not come in yet. She believed it was premature and didn’t think council should be dealing with the issue Monday night.

There was also a meeting in CAO John Miceli’s office before the special Sept. 17 meeting, Pouget claimed, and that Councillor Rick Fryer was on Miceli’s computer. Fryer would put a motion forward at the Sept. 17 meeting to have Lavigne and Rozankovic removed from the APSB but it was defeated.

Fryer said he never touched Miceli’s computer and that there have been “allegations all over the place.” He said he wanted Rozankovic and Lavigne removed from the board for the investigation only, adding something could have been done that night had someone come forward with the information.

Pouget responded that people had already been “publicly lynched” and that “the only thing we didn’t do that night was tar and feather them. They were already found guilty by some.”

Lavigne said he will defend his actions and that of Rozankovic and that “I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.” He said the APSB has been discredited for several months.

In a written statement, Lavigne stated “I would like to take the opportunity to set the record straight. At no time did I divulge any confidential material to Bob Rozankovic.” Lavigne said there was an in-camera meeting of the board in late-August where information was obtained from Windsor Chief Al Frederick. Administration provided council with a report that contained the confidential meeting from the board’s in-camera meeting at an in-camera meeting of council Sept. 10, Lavigne maintained and that he pointed that out to Rozankovic that confidential information that Rozankovic was already aware of was shared with council. Lavigne said Rozankovic then contact DiCarlo with that information.

“The integrity commissioner investigation was designed to find me at fault from the start in my opinion and after seeing how one of these reports was used against Windsor Councillor Rino Bortolin as a political tool, I decided it was not in my best interest to continue to co-operate. There is a a reason these investigations are generally not done during an election and Mr. Elman made our clerk aware of this fact. It was very apparent that there was an attempt to complete an investigation as quickly as possible and, in my opinion, it would have influenced the election and unfairly discredited Mr. Rozankovic and myself,” Lavigne wrote. “I leave this position with my head held high knowing I did not do what some have accused me of.”

Elman’s written report also stated that he believes the new council should be aware of the report for when it makes its committee appointments next term.

In a written statement to the RTT, Rozankovic stated: “By both the Town’s Code of Conduct, and more importantly the Police Service Act Code of Conduct for Police Board Members, neither Mr. Lavigne nor myself have done anything wrong and been the subjects of a ludicrous investigation that had no legitimacy. Mr. Lavigne fulfilled his obligation per Provincial Legislation (Police Service Act), legislation that supersedes any municipal policy. The Integrity Commissioner had no purview to investigate me as a Police Board Member, and he stated this. Yet he decided to pronounce judgement and as such defamed my character in a public forum. This investigation was rooted in vindictiveness on the part of certain individuals.”

Council voted 3-2 not to sanction Lavigne. The motion to suspend his pay failed with Councillor Joan Courtney, Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale and Pouget voting against and Fryer and Meloche being in favour. DiCarlo was not at the meeting due to illness and Lavigne declared conflict during the discussion in council chambers.

As the discussion went into accusations over conduct by Councillor Diane Pouget, Elman noted that he “slowed down the report” as not to have it come out during an election season. Miceli filed the complaint against Pouget over comments made at in-camera meetings both in 2017 and 2018 and comments made at a public meeting in 2018.

“It is clear from the documents filed in this Complaint that there is no love lost between Mr. Miceli and

Councillor Pouget. Councillor Pouget did not vote in favour of Mr. Miceli’s appointment and it is apparent that she still believes that he was the wrong person for the position. Mr. Miceli believes, with some justification,  that the Councillor continues to question his capabilities and his integrity and that she is trying to undermine his authority in those areas of responsibility reserved for the CAO,” Elman’s written report concluded as it relates to the second report on council’s agenda.

Elman added later in his report that “Councillor Pouget may have legitimate questions, for example about hiring of staff, but those questions should be directed to inquiring whether the Council-determined policies have been followed. It is the CAO’s job to hire staff and, if Council policies have been observed, it is not Council’s role to second guess the CAO.”

Pouget did not participate in the discussion during the meeting, but a written response from her was part of the agenda package.

“It is important to note, that Mr. Miceli did not file a complaint about the August 21, 2017 In-camera meeting until July 6, 2018, almost one year after the meeting and only a few weeks before I decided to run for Deputy Mayor,” Pouget wrote. “In Mr. Miceli’s complaint to you, Mr. Miceli provided inaccurate wording and information, that I challenged and corrected. This was verified with a copy of an audio. Further to that, I did not use bad language and I did not raise my voice. In  fact, not one member of Council including the mayor stated, that they found my words ‘insulting’ and not one member of Council commented on this exchange of words. In fact, there were no further comments about this meeting, until a complaint was issued by John Miceli almost one year later, right at election time.”

Pouget was also concerned over the timing of the investigation over her complaints of being harassed and bullied. Another issue was over a discussion over money related to Belle Vue fundraising and that occurred after a motion was passed allowing Miceli controls during the lame duck session.

“This motion was meant to protect our taxpayers, yet Mr. Miceli filed a complaint accusing me of not trusting his professional judgment. I believe it was my right to try and protect our taxpayers during this lame duck period,”  she stated in her written submission to Elman.

Fryer believed by not supporting Elman’s findings, it would send the wrong message to the new council and to the community. Councillor Leo Meloche said he witnessed the events and while “I have the utmost respect for council and staff, everyone needs to be treated with respect.”

Lavigne shot back, stating there are members of council that violate the code of conduct by what they have recently said on social media, referencing Meloche and recent comments on Facebook.

Council voted 3-2 to simply receive the report on the Pouget-related investigation with Courtney, DiPasquale and Lavigne in favour and Meloche and Fryer against.

Miceli stated after the meeting that he will defend his reputation and his staff and would file a complaint again if he felt the need. According to Miceli, he said he has had to endure having his capabilities questioned for the last four years. He said council supports one another and believed the decision not to seek sanctions was “par for the course” with the outgoing council.

 

APSB thanks officers, recognizes service at recent dinner

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service and the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) recognized officers for their service as well as the service itself last week.

A dinner was held at Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant last Tuesday night and featured current and past members of the Amherstburg Police Service and the APSB in attendance. Among the former members that came back were retired chief Roger Hollingworth, former mayor Wayne Hurst, former councillor John Sutton as well as Pauline Gemmell and Frank Cleminson.

Bob Rozankovic, the current APSB chair, said he thanked the officers for their service to the town and to “remind the officers that the community loves them.” He said the officers’ careers are rooted here and that the town will always appreciate their service.

Const. Nick Dupuis (left) receives his five-year award from Chief Tim Berthiaume. (Submitted photo)

Chief Tim Berthiaume recalled that he wanted to become a police officer when he was a youth and his aspirations came true.

“I’ve been living my dream the entire time,” said Berthiaume.

Berthiaume thanked the men and women of the Amherstburg Police Service, calling them the “backbone” of the service.

“You are the very best at what you do,” Berthiaume told them. “Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.”

Berthiaume said the board has been always been very supportive of him during his eight years as chief, and praised the current board as it had to endure stress and issues as part of the process which saw town council vote to switch policing to Windsor.

“This board has gone through a very difficult time,” said Berthiaume. “You got blamed for things you had nothing to do with. You persevered. You have got us through the toughest time the Amherstburg Police Service has ever experienced.”

Const. Shawn McCurdy (left) accepts his 25-year award from Chief Tim Berthiaume. (Submitted photo)

Berthiaume also praised APSB secretary Nancy Leavoy, calling her “the glue that holds us together.” He also thanked Hollingworth, with Berthiaume noting that he had tough shoes to fill after Hollingworth retired. He said the board “took a chance on me” as chief and “you allowed me to be me.”

Saying that serving the community is “God’s work,” Berthiaume added that his service could not have been done without the support of his wife Mary and their family. He continued to praise the officers by noting the police work often sees officers have to miss holidays and birthdays but praised the families for allowing them to do it.

As part of the dinner, Const. Nick Dupuis was recognized for his five years of service. Const. Shawn McCurdy was also recognized with McCurdy honoured for his 25 years of service.