The outgoing budget chair of the London Police Services Board and the head of the London Police Association are raising concerns about management at City Hall.
Just days after outgoing chair Paul Paolatto brought forward a motion calling for an investigation into the city’s handling of the months-long budget dispute, he’s now confirmed he will be sending a letter to council Wednesday expressing frustration with the negotiating process.
Paolatto says eight emails he sent back in February to Chief Administrator Officer Art Zuidema’s office proposing a compromise resolution were never passed on to city council; a settlement was finally reached last week, just days before the two sides were to supposed to appear before the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC).
“We’ve since learned a lot since the Thursday meeting that there was in fact a deal and that the Mayor and some other members around the City knew about it,” says Paolatto.
“Now there’s some explaining that probably needs to happen to their counterparts around the council table.”
Paolatto says council will also be provided with evidence of the eight incidents where their attempts to reach out to Zuidema’s office were not answered.
“These are independently verifiable instances and they involved OCPC. In reality, there was many more emails than that and many more incidents than that but these are the ones that are irrefutable. The reason I’m sending them to council is simply because it gives councillors an opportunity to ask a very difficult question which is: what happened and why?”
Paolatto says his intent is not to be “adversarial” but that council has big plans and needs a city manager that will be able to deliver on those plans.
“If [the civic leader] is it then great, if not then I think they need to have a hard conversation, maybe thank him for the service and move in another direction.”
While Paolatto is suggesting Zuidema may not be the best fit for council, the head of the police union is calling for Mayor Matt Brown to step down from the London Police Services Board.
Rick Robson says if it wasn’t for Paolatto’s motion last Thursday, the London Police Association would not be aware of the extent of frustration between the Police Services Board and city management.
“Councillor [Phil] Squire states that the Mayor had an obligation to bring this proposal, if known about it, to the board. Councillor [Josh] Morgan then states that the Mayor was aware of the initial proposal and in fact was part of the discussion of the initial proposal and, at least according to Councillor Morgan’s comments, the Mayor was a driving party in ensuring that proposal did not in fact make it to council,” Rick Robson tells AM980.
“Then on Thursday [Mayor Brown] admits he may have had some knowledge of the proposal and then the Police Services Board wanted him to champion this proposal and he wasn’t supportive of that.”
Robson suggests that Brown was operating under the assumption that the best course of action was for the dispute to go before the OCPC.
“Which is fine if that’s your position. [But] put the offer in front of City Council and offer your advice as the Mayor and as a member of the Police Services Board that you don’t feel this is the best position for the City to take and that you recommend going to the OCPC hearing,” Robson argues.
“The question then becomes, who exactly is the Mayor representing when he sits at the Police Services Board?”