MC MPS Update
It’s hard to know where to start with this update as we’re hearing little from the town but lots from those trying to protect their personal fiefdoms. We are also reading a backlash against Orangeville Council’s 4-3 vote to defer a decision on an OPP bid until the next municipal elections, which is being referred to as a “COP OUT” given the millions of dollars OPP would save them.
Let’s start local. In response to our last policing update the Chief saw fit to rebut some of our facts. We won’t re-produce his entire blog but will share with you a few notable points.
The first is with respect to severance provided for the ‘top 2 cops’ in their employment contracts. We want to reiterate that the 3-year severance packages guaranteed to the Chief and the Inspector are irresponsible. The Chief replied that they aren’t unprecedented because he can find other examples, but they are completely outlandish to anybody who lives in a normal world. How many plant managers or senior administrators elsewhere in Midland would be handed such a gift? To guarantee a severance payment of three years to two people, working in a $5M business is both ludicrous and irresponsible. The previous Police Service Board sold Midland out – plain and simple.
For the Chief to suggest, “I negotiated a disbandment clause in good faith, long before the costing request was on the horizon” doesn’t fly given the fact that 16 municipalities (see the list at the end of this update) transitioned to the OPP in the 10 years before his sweetheart deal. The writing was on the wall and the Chief, Inspector and Police Service Board of the day read it very clearly. In business it’s called a ‘poison pill’, a tactic utilised by companies to prevent or discourage unwelcome takeovers.
The chief also took exception to our comments on cost avoidance (sickness, litigation, interest arbitration, town support, etc), but those exact issues were also recognised in Orangeville. Following is an excerpt from an article in the Orangeville Banner: “Even the administrative, dispatch and legal costs — remember all those Police Services Act (PSA) tribunals and civil lawsuits of years past — associated with a police service would be covered by the province under the OPP. Fewer ancillary financial responsibilities for the town under the OPP? Check”
Here in Midland, we have faced very similar and expensive events. Everyone should remember the OCPC complaint filed by the Chief against the late Stephan Kramp, with its ensuing legal expenses. Tribunal proceedings involving an MPS officer have continued for almost 4 years now with no end in sight and have cost Midland $500,000 in wages already without the benefit of having the officer patrolling our streets. To suggest that Midland hasn’t faced such legal expenses is rewriting history.
Finally, a comment on the inappropriate letter the Chief sent to the Minister regarding OPP’s “pseudo invoice”. First Chief, your apology is duly noted, but it’s a bit hollow when you go on to defend your position. If you’re going to play politics then you will have to accept the political backlash.
Back to Orangeville for a moment. We are indeed fortunate that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in Orangeville don’t preside over us in Midland. Allow us to borrow another excerpt from the indictment served up on Orangeville’s leaders by the Orangeville Banner:
“Campbell, (Orangeville councillor) said, “at least 17 civilian OPS employees will lose their jobs with a move to the OPP”.
Did Campbell just put the interests of 17 OPS civilian employees — some of whom I imagine don’t even live in Orangeville — before those of the town’s entire taxpaying public?
“We have been advised that after three years, Orangeville will experience significant savings,” Campbell said. “I still however have a hard time getting my head around how that can realistically be achieved while still providing the level of visibility and service our citizens are accustomed to.”
I’ll tell you what citizens have grown accustomed to … paying more than they should for policing. That applies even today, despite the fact OPS has managed to trim its budget’s waistline in recent years.
It should not be hard for anyone to get his or her head around why the same or better levels of service can be achieved at lower cost. Efficiency and economies of scale are the reason. OPP overhead costs are spread across a much larger customer base which allows for less spending on overhead and more spending on our actual policing needs. It’s not a matter of faith but a matter of fact. Just ask anyone who resides in Penetanguishene, Tiny or Tay how much policing costs them.
We are confident our councillors will not play the silly games that were played in Orangeville. The bid Midland received from the OPP will assign 4 more officers to patrol our community than the MPS is now providing – 4 more officers at a lower ongoing cost. And nobody should be surprised about this next point – the costs of the Midland Police will be going up. The Midland Police Association (Union) has put everyone on notice that they are understaffed, overworked and “stretched thin”. Additional officers for the Midland Police will significantly widen the OPP cost advantage by about $150,000 for each officer Midland Police is compelled to add.
For interested readers, the link to the full article from the Orangeville Banner is at the end of this update.
We ask our elective representatives to avoid the horrible example from Orangeville and deal with the important issue of policing Midland for the benefit of the community.
This is how we see it.
What follows is a list of Municipal Police Services who successfully transitioned over to the OPP since 2001. Note there was a moratorium from 2013-2016 given the formulation of the new costing model.
2001 – Terrace Bay
2002 – Deseronto, Meadford-Thornbury
2003 – Ingersoll, Carleton Place, Elliot Lake, South Bruce Grey
2004 – Quinte West, Prescott
2006 – Atikokan
2007 – Temiskaming Shores
2009 – Essex, Kenora, Oxford County
2010 – Leamington
2011 – Wawa
2012 – Perth, Pembroke
Link to Orangeville.com ‘Council Cop Out” news article: https://www.orangeville.com/news-story/7371080-column-orangeville-council-cops-out-in-face-of-cheaper-more-efficient-policing-option/?cn=bwvudglvbg%3d%3d