Shawn McCurdy

Cops still pursuing outstanding payments

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The issue of outstanding payments to former Amherstburg police officers is still outstanding and may end up in court.

While some payments have been made, the officers, most of whom are now with the Windsor Police Service – Amherstburg Detachment, officers are still awaiting others.

“(The town) paid severances and some vacation time to certain individuals,” said Const. Shawn McCurdy, who was the president of the Amherstburg Police Association and current director on the Windsor Police Association.

McCurdy noted there was some sick time also paid and one-year of salary “top-ups” paid but there is more to come including banked overtime, statutory pay, more vacation time and severance for one individual.

“We haven’t had any conversations with them for over a week,” McCurdy stated Monday morning. “Council and administration have not given us any information whatsoever. Our next step is to seek a court order to have it all paid.”

The former Amherstburg Police Service and chief approved all the payments and the town has no authority to interject, said McCurdy, adding the town was “made well aware of these outstanding items.”

Should the matter go to court, McCurdy believed it could cost taxpayers more as the officers could seek damages as well.

“Under the agreement, they are contractually obligated to pay all of these items,” said McCurdy. “It all stems from the collective agreement. The mayor, Aldo DiCarlo, was the lead negotiator for the board when all of this was negotiated.”

McCurdy said it is unfortunate the situation has gotten to where it is and stated they have contacted their lawyer.

“We’re only asking for what we are entitled to,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate. It’s disheartening. It should not have come to this.”

McCurdy added they are simply standing up for their legal rights and hope it can be resolved without additional costs to the residents.

DiCarlo maintained the town’s position that it is the residents whom they are looking after.

“Our position hasn’t changed in the sense we are doing due diligence as far as our financial reporting goes,” he said.

DiCarlo said he can appreciate the officers’ frustration, but said the town’s finance department “are working very hard on this trying to get it resolved” and that a lot of the money has been paid in advance of legal deadlines.

“A considerable amount has been paid out,” the mayor stated. “We’re doing what we can to expedite it. We’re working on it.”

DiCarlo had previously indicated that the town needs all the documentation in order to pay the costs per its financial reporting obligations and said Monday night that he appreciates the officers positions but “the town has theirs. We have a responsibility to the residents who are going to be paying these bills. We are doing what we absolutely have to to be responsible to them as well.”

While not wanting to see the matter go to court, DiCarlo indicated the town would “absolutely be there” to defend its position.

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.”

 

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.

 

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.