As summer comes to an end and the kids head back to school, we can only hope our youth can set a better example of doing the right thing than two former members of the Midland Police Service, namely former chief Michael Osborne and civilian IT person, Bill Gordon.
As we reflect on the August council session through the Midland Mirror’s headlines, we take note of familiar faces, two of Midland’s former powerful individuals who now hold the rank of ‘common folk’, just like you and I. The headlines read “Town of Midland considering lawsuit against sitting councillor” and “Former Midland police chief sues town for breach of contract”.
Not the kind of articles anyone wants to read about our generally wonderful little town.
Here is more context for those of you who are not always able to attend some of the marathon council meetings we do on your behalf.
Starting with the former Chief:
A very difficult decision was made by former Council to disband Midland Police Service (MPS) and go with the OPP. This was a decision which would result in enhanced safety and security for our citizens and from the savings, the town/people would have more money in the budget to support other much needed community services.
When employers (Town of Midland) make these types of decisions they have a duty under Canadian Law to be fair to those employees who get displaced through no fault of their own.
Mike Osborne had a negotiated employment contract which was extremely rich by any standard. He would be compensated for three years of salary (approximately $450,000), be gifted his company vehicle and the town would pay for benefits coverage (health, dental, etc.) until he’s 75 years old – not bad for just 9 years in the position. No wonder people get mad at these golden parachute arrangements, because at the end of the day we all pay the cost!
Mr. Osborne also racked up legal bills in excess of $330,000 prosecuting a former MPS employee who coincidentally left the force prior to the OPP taking over – for which, the Town and the Police Services Board state Osborne exceeded his authority.
Go figure, and now Mr. Osborne wants more of your money – $1.1 million to be exact.
A few comments about Bill Gordon, the King of Spin and self-professed expert on encryption and related matters.
As you know, Mr. Gordon also failed to land with the OPP. However, like his peers he received a generous severance package and obviously had no issue with the amount as he was part of the negotiating team. Gordon later boasted, he will “pay off my mortgage” with all the money the town will pay him once MPS is disbanded.
Fast forward to August 2019, some 18 months after transitioning to the OPP.
Mr. Gordon, a sitting Midland Councillor without any special police constable status, is defiant in turning over to the Town and the OPP certain information he is personally in control of. Mr. Gordon and Mr. Osborne also have additional copies of the data, in addition to the town’s encrypted copy.
Council voted 6-2 (Gordon abstained) in favour of giving staff authority to take all necessary and legal steps to address the encrypted Police Service records issue.
The police debacle and self-interest once again overshadowed much of the good work, which is discussed and decided at Midland’s Council meetings. The sooner this gets resolved, the better we’ll all be.
We did hear one deputation that evening which spoke to the damage legal and public issues around dissent and entitlement cause to Midland’s brand.
Rather than us interpreting the speaker’s remarks, we encourage you to read the full deputation on our website, by clicking here.
In closing, when parents and teachers are having discussions with our youth over right versus wrong, please remember policing and the example we are setting here, not to mention the fact those responsible for serving and protecting the public should be held to an even higher standard.
While some former MPS employees missed the bar on this front, it’s important for the men and women with the OPP and those who successfully transitioned to OPP to have the community’s full and unqualified support – if not, we’re all in trouble.
MIDLAND MATTERS, GETTING INVOLVED MATTERS AND POLICING MATTERS
Read, by clicking below, the full Staff Report presented by Midland’s Legal & Corporate Services to Council at the August 14, 2019 Council meeting:
Town of Midland Staff Report CS-2019-6