Tim Berthiaume

Town of Amherstburg asks for review of Joint Powers Agreement

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

A motion has been carried for the request from The Town of Amherstburg to review the 1994 Joint Powers Agreement, and administration will be contacting the county solicitor on how to proceed with the review.

In the 1990s, the approval of the creation and implementation of a centralized communication system, known as the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Reporting was created. The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commissioner approved Bell Canada as the subscriber biller. Municipalities were responsible for providing the service, which would answer and transfer those 9-1-1 calls from the Bell lines through to the correct Remote Agency, which would then dispatch the emergency personnel.

“The Joint Powers Agreement gave the county the authority to enter into an agreement on behalf of all the joint parties for this central emergency reporting bureau,” explained Mary Birch, director of council services/clerk. “The county was billed, and then each municipality was billed based on their population. That agreement was most recently reviewed with the OPP December 13, 2015, which will last to December 12, 2020, at an annual cost, of $99,824.34 based on the residential population of 177,940.”

Birch explained, in June, a report went to Town of Amherstburg Police Chief Tim Berthiaume in regards to transferring the 9-1-1 call taking from the OPP to the Windsor Police Service. At that time, the resolutions included that transfer, and the Police Chief was directed to enter discussions with the county to terminate the agreement for the provision of 9-1-1 central emergency reporting bureau between the Ontario Provincial Police and the County of Essex.

Birch stated in her report “In July, 2017, a legal opinion was sought from County Solicitor Christine Riley, regarding implications on the Joint Powers Agreement and Agreement for CERB services with the OPP, if the Town of Amherstburg opted to terminate their participation. Ms. Riley indicated that: “Article 7 provides that no party can terminate or amend the Agreement except as provided in that section. Article 7(b)(i) states that ‘the parties may, by mutual agreement, amend or terminate this Agreement.’”

The county will be looking in to how to proceed.

 

Amherstburg police switching dispatch services to Windsor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service will be dispatched out of Windsor by year’s end with a cost savings also coming as part of a new five-year agreement with the city.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board agreed at its meeting last week that the Windsor Police Service be awarded a five-year contract for dispatching services. Currently, Amherstburg police is dispatched out of LaSalle but that will come to an end at the end of the year when the new contract with Windsor kicks in.

Windsor’s bid came in at $653,000 over the five-year period with LaSalle police’s bid being over $1.48 million over that time frame. Owen Sound police and Strathroy-Caradoc police also submitted bids with those bids being just under $1.48 million and $1.54 million respectively.

“The LaSalle Police Service will continue to provide dispatching services until the Windsor Police Service takes over. We estimate that transition should be completed by mid-December,” said Chief Tim Berthiaume.

The start-up costs with Windsor are estimated at $295,000 for hardware and software needs. Another $50,000 will be allocated for “incidental and/or unexpected expenses” related to the transfer.

“Any incidental or unexpected expenses will be funded from the existing police reserves,” said Berthiaume.

There would have been no start-up costs had Amherstburg police remained with LaSalle police for dispatching services but there would have been costs relating to upgrading equipment, including computers.

Berthiaume said dispatching costs this year are estimated at $323,000 with that being increased to about $340,000 in 2018 had the contract with LaSalle been extended, as that contract included an automatic five per cent increase. Excluding set-up costs, the chief said dispatching services from Windsor are expected to cost $71,000 next year.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

“This is the third time in approximately 15 years the Amherstburg police has switched dispatching providers. None of the previous providers were located in Amherstburg. As with other transitions the Windsor Police dispatchers and police personnel will be offered opportunities to ride along with our front line staff,” said Berthiaume.

The chief pointed out that the last time dispatching services were switched was when they went from Leamington to LaSalle in 2010.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board in collaboration with the Chief of Police is committed to the perpetual pursuit of finding efficiencies and costs savings, he said. Berthiaume added that the issue of dispatching was first raised at the board level in early 2016.

“During my examination of each budget line, I brought dispatching to the attention of the Amherstburg Police Services Board,” said Berthiaume. “A committee was struck to put out an RFP for dispatching services.”

The committee that examined the Request for Proposals (RFP’s) included police services board chair Patricia Simone, vice chair Bob Rozankovic and Berthiaume.

“We are very pleased with the cost saving,” said Berthiaume. “We’re always looking for efficiencies. It never stops.”

The motion passed last week accepts Windsor police’s proposal for dispatching services, Berthiaume added, and authorized Simone and Rozankovic to enter into contract talks with them. As for what would happen should council elect to switch to OPP or a regional policing model, that remains unclear.

“The exact details of the contracts are being worked on. As soon as the contract is signed it will be available to the public,” said Berthiaume.

It is anticipated that the public will not notice the change in dispatching service, the chief stated.

The switch from LaSalle police to Windsor police for dispatching services is strictly a matter of dollars and cents, Berthiaume emphasized.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the LaSalle Police Service. The switch from LaSalle to Windsor is about cost savings, not service,” said Berthiaume. “LaSalle is a first-class police service. They are more than just a neighbouring organization. They are a valued partner.

Berthiaume said LaSalle police features Amherstburg’s friends and colleagues and “I am committed to maintaining the valued relationship we have built with them.”

Local residents celebrate a century of living

 

By Jonathan Martin

In the early morning of April 9, 1917, 150,000 Canadian soldiers poured out of their trenches and shell holes into the snow-swept wasteland surrounding Vimy Ridge.

It was the first wave of what would become Canada’s most celebrated military achievement. It was also the day Herman Glonek was born in Poland, which, at the time, was split between German and Russian control.

The assault lasted four days. By the late afternoon of April 12, the four Canadian divisions making the advance had captured their objectives and pushed German forces back five kilometers. As if in celebration, Jean Farr entered the world in St. Thomas, Ontario that same day.

Ninety-nine years, 364 days later, on April 11, 2017, Glonek and Farr sat at a table together in Amherstburg. Both are living at Seasons Retirement Community. Though their home countries were at war when they were born, today they are friends, and hugged each other in mutual celebration. After all, a century of life is no small feat.

Some of the staff of Seasons Retirement Community surround Jean Farr (front, left) and Herman Glonek (front, right) as they celebrate their birthdays at Seasons in Amherstburg last Tuesday morning.  Glonek turned 100 April 9 and Farr turned 100 April 12.

Some of the staff of Seasons Retirement Community surround Jean Farr (front, left) and Herman Glonek (front, right) as they celebrate their birthdays at Seasons in Amherstburg last Tuesday morning. Glonek turned 100 April 9 and Farr turned 100 April 12. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

“My life was hard,” Glonek said in his sharply-accented English. “I struggled so.”

At 21, he joined the Polish army and soon found himself fighting against two of the era’s most influential military forces: Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The invaders swept across Glonek’s home and swallowed the country whole in just over a month.

Along with millions of other Poles, Glonek was captured and taken to a forced-labour camp. He spent the rest of World War Two starved and struggling on a German farm.

“I have such stories from that time,” he said. “I often tell myself I will write a book.”

Following Poland’s liberation in 1945, Glanek bought his way into Canada.

“I hated the (second world) war,” said Farr. She was living in St. Thomas while Glonek was making his way to Canada. She remembers welcoming some veterans home and noting the stinging absence of others.

“I hope there’s never another one,” she added. “But who’s to know?”

Jean Farr stands behind her 100th birthday cake at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday.  Farr is the third person to celebrate a 100th birthday at Seasons as of April 12.  The first was Marie White, who turned 100 last year.

Jean Farr stands behind her 100th birthday cake at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday. Farr is the third person to celebrate a 100th birthday at Seasons as of April 12. The first was Marie White, who turned 100 last year. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Farr moved around a little during her century of life, but always stayed in Ontario. She finally found her way into Essex County following the death of her husband, when she moved into Harrow with her niece. From Harrow, she made the jump into retirement living at Seasons.

“I have no words for these people who take care of me,” said Glonek, referring to the Seasons staff. “I give thanks to God that I am here.”

For Glonek, getting to where he is took some doing. The Polish native said he entered Canada with a contract. He would work on a farm near Montréal for one year. After that, he would be on his own. When the contract ended, he moved to Windsor.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (right)  presents Herman Glonek with a framed certificate at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday.  The certificate reads, in part, "Congratulations & Best Wishes on the Occasion of Your 100th Birthday." (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (right)
presents Herman Glonek with a framed certificate at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday. The certificate reads, in part, “Congratulations & Best Wishes on the Occasion of Your 100th Birthday.” (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Decades later, the two centenarians found themselves being handed a piece of cake with a large, blue “100” printed on its top after being addressed by Amherstburg deputy mayor Bart DiPasquale and Amherstburg chief of police Tim Berthiaume.

DiPasquale spoke to both Farr and Glonek individually before presenting each with a certificate declaring that the “Council of the Corporation of the Town of Amherstburg votes to extend Birthday Wishes” to them.

Berthiaume presented each with a commemorative coin, on which the town’s police logo is emblazoned.

“You get one every hundred years,” Berthiaume told them. “I guess you better start clearing space.”

Farr and Glonek laughed, then exchanged a look.

 

For more photos from that day, visit our Facebook album.

“Sunshine List” released for 2016

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The public salary disclosure – a.k.a. the “Sunshine List” – has been released for 2016.

The salaries are released under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act which requires most organizations that receive public funding from Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in the previous calendar year.

According to a news release sent by the province, the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act applies to the provincial government, Crown agencies and corporations, Ontario Power Generation and subsidiaries, publicly funded organizations such as hospitals, municipalities, school boards, universities and colleges, and not-for-profit organizations that meet a funding threshold.

The $100,000 threshold has not changed since the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act was enacted in 1996, and has not been adjusted to keep up with inflation. If the salary threshold were adjusted for inflation, it would be $149,424 in today’s dollars, reducing the number of employees included in the compendium by 84 per cent.

The “Sunshine List” saw 36 employees of the town of Amherstburg on it, up two from 2015. That includes 25 members of the Amherstburg Police Service, the same as the year prior.

The top three earners in the town were CAO John Miceli, who earned $181,193.60 in 2016 followed by police chief Tim Berthiaume ($167,857.83) and deputy police chief Ian Chappell ($140,806.08).

CAO John Miceli earned $181,193.60 in 2016.

CAO John Miceli earned $181,193.60 in 2016.

Among the police sergeants on the list were Matt Capel-Cure ($126,490.06), Melissa Taylor ($125,530.19), Don Brown ($132,243.82), and Scott Riddell ($115,301.01). Constables on the list include Rory Bennett ($121,238.13), Viktor Burany ($112,433.51), Rocco Pelaccia ($111,668.98), Paul Smith ($119,226.43), Nick D’Amore ($113,049.31), Christopher Dean ($105,042.28), Kim Rathbone ($103,435.23), Fred Adair ($110,881.86), Andrew Challans ($109,232.01), Aaron Chambers ($104,573.89), Nicholaus Dupuis ($111.421.54), Tim Ford ($108,270.62), Sean Gazdig ($108, 309.35), Nathan Harris ($116,119.21), Shawn McCurdy ($104,994.13), Margaret O’Brien ($113,408), Ryan Pizzala ($100,619.29), B.J. Wiley ($115,214.59) and Don Zimmerman ($103,707.61).

Other members of town administration on the list are director of engineering and public works Antonietta Giofu ($120,415.08), director of corporate services and treasurer ($120,415.60), manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt ($101,055.56), manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger ($105,022.56), manager of information technology Dave Carpenter ($106,323.16), manager of roads and fleet Eric Chamberlain ($104,403.61) and director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin ($116,397.38).

Firefighters on the list include Jason Durocher ($110,974.90), former chief Randy Sinasac ($104,792.64) and Randy Wismer ($104,844.76).

The County of Essex also had 36 of its employees make the Sunshine List, with 20 of them being affiliated with Essex-Windsor EMS. County CAO Brian Gregg was the top earner in 2016 with a salary of $181,643.64 while director of corporate services/treasurer Rob Maisonville was the second highest earner with a 2016 salary of $151,434.60. Deputy EMS Chief of planning and physical resources Chris Grant earned $141,337.03 while director of transportation services Tom Bateman and Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter earned $130,425.60 and $130,285.48 respectively.

Other Essex-Windsor EMS members on the list include district chief John Fast ($117,291.70), paramedic Lance Huver ($106,726.48), district chief John Jacobs ($117,673.43), paramedic Anthony Jaroszwicz ($105,893.20), paramedic Arnold Wenzler ($103,802.72), Capt. Dawn Arsenault ($101,356.04), paramedic Tim Branch ($105,125.31), district chief Shawn Davis ($120,914.82), district chief Michael Jacobs ($126,282.32), deputy chief Justin Lammers ($101,708.14), district chief Denis Mcfarlane ($120,980.05), district chief Mechelle Murphy ($113,096.90), paramedic Paul Stromme ($102,093.15), district chief Jean-Pierre Bacon ($104,804.29), district chief Sarah Bezaire ($116,472.39), district chief Tyson Brohman ($127,602.57), paramedic Justin Campeau ($102,222.37), Capt. Cathy Hedges ($102,113.33), paramedic Chris Kirwin ($105,153.97) and deputy chief Ryan Lemay ($116,394.69).

essex_logo_final

County administration on the list also includes director of council services/clerk Mary Brennan ($120,691.95), Sun Parlour Home administrator Lynda Monik ($127,225.89), human resources director Greg Schlosser ($119,929.63), manager of transportation and development Jane Mustac ($108,032.24), manager of construction services Peter Bzuik ($105,228.67) and manager of maintenance operations Kenneth Newman ($111,981.03).

Nursing staff that are on the county’s list include Sun Parlour Home director of nursing Linda Desjardins ($107,652.91) and registered nurses Kendra Powell ($105,926.68), Juliette Jeremias ($105,004.80), Kristine Malott ($105,179.52) and Nancy Morand ($104,800.60).

The Greater Essex County District School Board also released its list for 2016 with it including Amherstburg Public School principal Mark Campbell ($122,478.20) and vice principal Christina Pottie ($104,435.98). Anderdon Public principal Kerry Green-Duren earned $123,413.29 while vice principal Victoria MacPherson-Blencoe earned $125,002.86.

General Amherst High School principal Hazel Keefner made the list with a 2016 salary of $130,511.68 while vice principal Joe Marusic earned $104,194.72.

The Sunshine List for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board shows that St. Thomas of Villanova principal Amy Facchineri earned $119,947.30 while vice principals Sam Sleiman and Laura Beltran earned $112,493.75 and $112,303.51 respectively.

Stella Maris School principal Sophie DiPaolo earned $119,216.54 while St. Joseph School principal Linda DiPasquale had a 2016 salary of $119,887.

A number of teachers also made the list, with the full Sunshine List found at www.ontario.ca and searching public sector salary disclosure.

Business plan completed for Amherstburg Police Service

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service’s business plan has been completed and presented to town council.

The report came before town council at the March 20 meeting and received praise from town council members with Chief Tim Berthiaume telling the River Town Times last week they took different measures this time around to get public input for the three-year plan.

“We’ve always had a difficult time getting people to come to advertised meetings,” said Berthiaume.

While they still had advertised public meetings, the Amherstburg Police Service also went to the public to meet in different settings as well.

“We targeted groups. We targeted service clubs. We targeted organizations and we targeted seniors centres,” said Berthiaume. “We basically went to them.”

The police service was greeted well at the meetings and Berthiaume said Amherstburg police learned a lot as well. There were even some issues addressed that weren’t thought of by police going in, including timing of street lights and crosswalk signals.

“The elderly residents appreciated the visit to their buildings,” he said. “They described to us they have a hard time getting out. We received wonderful feedback. We learned a lot from all of our site visits.”

The Amherstburg Police Service performed well in the various criteria they were scored on with the lowest scores being 95 per cent and 91 per cent for how the service handles damage to property and traffic complaints respectively.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

“Traffic, year after year, is a concern for residents of the town of Amherstburg,” said Berthiaume.

Noting that the business plan “is about how we are going to police the town over the next three years,” the chief said they have goals of maintaining a high level of service to the community, continuing to seek feedback from the public, continuing to identify the public’s needs and expectations and to maintain good response times.

Preventing property crime is a target over the next three years, he added. Thefts from vehicles continues to be a major issue and “target hardening” neighbourhoods is what police will push for. That includes simple measures as encouraging residents to lock their doors and secure their property.

“This is where we need the community to help us and the rest of the community by simply locking your doors,” said Berthiaume. “As long as people get something by stealing, they will continue to do so.”

With spring arriving, Amherstburg police expect a rise in thefts from vehicles as thieves will also be taking advantage of the warmer weather.

Berthiaume said the Amherstburg Police Service is committed to being open and providing an efficient police service. They acknowledge not only the input from the community in making up the plan, but from officers as well.

“Their feedback was crucial in the development of this,” he said.

Councillor Diane Pouget thanked Berthiaume at the March 20 meeting for the report. She called it “a very good and detailed report” and pointed out the majority of residents believe Amherstburg police is doing a good job.

Pouget noted the increase in property crime, but acknowledged much of that can be attributed to people leaving their vehicles unlocked.

Much of the feedback from the community was about the OPP costing, he added. Berthiaume noted a business plan has to be created by Amherstburg police every three years and the two issues weren’t interconnected.

“A lot of residents want to talk to us about the OPP costing,” said Berthiaume, noting he was glad to have Amherstburg Police Services Board members at the meetings to help with such questions. “The Amherstburg Police Service and OPP costing are two different things but the OPP costing appears to be on everyone’s mind.”