Saxon vs. Wilfred Fryer and Amherstburg Police Services Board
Saxon, Marentette and DiPasquale competed for two Sgt. positions in April, 1988. The local press reported that DiPasquale and Marentette scored highest and interviewed best and were therefore promoted. The fact is that Saxon and Marentette scored highest, and there were no interviews. As of January, 2002, Marentette is Chief of Police, 2003, DiPasquale is Deputy Chief and Saxon is a Sgt. In retrospect, 1988 was a good indication of what was to follow.
Sgt. W. Fryer was named Officer in Charge in August, 1992. When former Chief Tack resigned in September, 1992, Fryer was named Acting Chief. Despite the recommendations of an outside interview panel, the police services board appointed Fryer as Chief in April, 1993.
In December, 1995, Fryer advised Saxon that he was the subject of three Police Act charges of discreditable conduct. He received two warnings for complaints of alleged comments he made to an unknown third party and to the press in a letter to the editor (as an Association member). He was charged for the third allegation that he made comments about two fellow officers. Saxon elected to have a hearing, but in a letter to Saxon, Fryer stated he reconsidered after discussing the matter with Windsor Police Service. He would not lay a charge, but would place it in his conduct file for two years.
In July, 1996, Saxon filed a statement of claim that alleged:
Fryer breached his fiduciary duties, has undertaken a course of intimidation and
is interfering with his contractual duties with his employer, the Amherstburg
Police Services Board. Mousseau/Deluca law firm filed a motion to have the
courts dismiss the action. At an August, 1996 hearing, Judge Joseph McMahon
reserved his decision. On September 26, he ruled the courts do have some
jurisdiction and Saxon could proceed. Citing Praskey vs. Toronto (Metropolitan) Police
Services Board, McMahon ruled "the action against the defendant (Fryer) does
not arise out of any provisions in the collective agreement. It is an action
against the defendant alleging misuse of powers granted to him pursuant to the
Police Services Act." McMahon also granted a motion by Saxon's lawyer, Luigi
DiPierdomenico, to include the Amherstburg Police Services Board as a party
defendant. An amended statement of claim was filed.
On December 1, 1997, Fryer charged Saxon under the Police Services Act with three counts of disobey an order and one count of feigning illness following an investigation by London Police Service. Some fellow officers provided statements to London Police regarding their surveillance, both on and off duty, and notations on Saxon's activities.
In June, 1998, Saxon entered a plea of not guilty. Saxon's lawyer objected to Richard Pollock of Mousseau DeLuca law firm prosecuting while he represented the police services board and chief Fryer in the civil suit. The hearing officer didn't see a conflict. A judicial review was held and the judge declared the town lawyer should be removed. Not only must there be the perception of unbias, there must be unbias. After a couple of adjournments, a disciplinary hearing was held with a new prosecutor from Toronto. At the June 16, 1998 hearing, the feigning illness charge was withdrawn. In a July, 1998 decision, Inspector Ernest Tremain found "that Chief Wilfred Fryer had no lawful authority to issue orders to Constable James Saxon to divulge personal medical information." The local press reported that Saxon was found not guilty of all charges. One local paper also reported that Fryer was named the chief of the amalgamated police service, while another reported that the motion had to be rescinded.
On December 1, 1998, Fryer contacted the OPP in London to investigate Saxon for perjury, obstruction of justice, and comments made to a citizen about Fryer. As the allegations were unfounded, no charges were laid.
Where are they now?
At the end of December, 1998, Fryer retired with a severance package worth $154,262. that was agreed to on December 19, 1997 between Fryer and the outgoing police services board. (The Town of Amherstburg amalgamated with the townships of Anderdon and Malden, and a new police services board was created on January 1, 1998). In a December 29, 1998 The Amherstburg Echo article, Fryer stated, "I was really excited to be provided the opportunity to be chief, but that happy occasion was tarnished by certain individuals for vindictive reasons."
Saxon continued to be a member of the Amherstburg Police Service until his unofficial retirement on August 16, 2014; his official retirement commences December 31, 2014.
As of May 17, 2002, the lawsuit is settled to Saxon's satisfaction.
What about the Association?
A memo to Saxon.
Saxon sought legal advice and requested financial assistance for the defence of the Police Act charges. In an earlier unrelated situation involving another member, the Association paid the full legal costs just for a lawyer to review the member's statement-- Saxon was offered the services of Harry DeJong, a retired Windsor police officer. Saxon strongly felt that he required legal representation, which was justified throughout the process. Long after the completion of the hearing, the Association paid 30 cents on the dollar toward the defence of the charges.
This is by no means a complete account of events.
A Level 3 Inspection by the Ministry of Solicitor General was held in the fall, 1994. An earlier Inspection was held in 1992.
In June, 1985, the Ontario Police Commission made recommendations based on its public inquiry into the conduct of employees and management of the department, including then-Constable Ray Marentette, who became Acting Chief of Amherstburg Police Service in January, 2002 and Chief in June, 2002. Read the story.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
In August 2004, Saxon filed an Ontario Human Rights complaint againt the Amherstburg Police Services Board, former Chief Marentette and former Deputy Chief DiPasquale for discrimination because of disability and failing to accommodate. On three separate occasions, the Amherstburg Police advised there were no light duties for him. Unsuccessful mediation was held in February, 2009. A public Case Resolution Conference, scheduled for July 15 and 16, 2009, was rescheduled for, and held on, September 1 and 2, 2009.
The first Tribunal decision from September 30, 2008 as a result of the Respondents' claim of abuse of process.
The second Tribunal decision from December 15, 2008 as a result of the respondents argument that the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to deal with this Application. The Tribunal did not agree that it was an abuse of process.
The third Tribunal decision from March 20,2009, a request to add Timothy Berthiaume as a respondent, following the recommendation of the Mediator.
The fourth Tribunal decision from October 7, 2009 that the application is dismissed.Mr. Muir, vice-chair of the HRTO made several factual errors in his decision. The proceeding was not recorded and Mr. Muir's computer malfunctioned during the hearing.
The fifth and final decision from December 4, 2009 that Mr. Muir would not reconsider new evidence relative to Tim Berthiaume.
In June 2009, about 10 days before our son passed away, Saxon was charged with two alleged Police Act offences: one for disobey a lawful order from 2001 when he tried to obtain short term disability claim forms from Elke LeBlanc, payroll and benefits clerk at the Amherstburg Town Hall offices and the other for discreditable conduct. Elke LeBlanc made allegations about his language and conduct when he tried to obtain short term disability claim forms. A public hearing was held January 18, 2010 to January 22, 2010 at the Amherstburg Police Services office. Berthiaume publicly testified at Sgt. Saxon's disciplinary hearing that Saxon is "an anomaly."
A guilty finding, presented on March 4, 2010 at the Amherstburg Police Services office, is under appeal.
At the May 12, 2010 sentencing hearing, a joint submission was made by Luigi Dipierdomenco and D. Cowling, prosecutor, regarding an agreed upon 5 days' forfeiture.
The sentencing, or as hearing officer M. Elbers refers to it, disposition, was to be held on June 21, 2010 at the Amherstburg Police Service office at 7 pm, but M. Elbers failed to show; when telephoned re his whereabouts, he advised he was in Barrie.
At 8 a.m. June 22, 1010, at the Amherstburg Police Service offices, Elbers appeared for sentencing and rendered his decision of a forfeiture of 5 days, pending the outcome of the appeal. I disagree with Elbers; in my opinion, if the community learned what transpired and how Saxon was treated by the Amherstburg Police, residents would fully support Sgt. Saxon. I also beieve that there is a big difference between respect for rank and respect for the person. Kangaroo Court?
An appeal hearing was held on November 16, 2010 in Toronto.
Appeal unsuccessful; read the decision here.
An HRTO Interim Decision was issued on June 23, 2014. An HRTO hearing will take place in early 2015.
June 8, 2015
Commentary by Linda Saxon
You might recall the March 14, 2015 post, Amherstburg Police – A Cheap And Shameful Sendoff regarding Sgt. Jim Saxon’s differential treatment and how, unlike other retiring police officers, he received a cheap silver badge instead of the traditional gold.
At that time, I stated, “To treat one of their own officers with such disdain instigates nothing but disrespect and disgust from me.”
At that time I was unaware of some information, for example, who made the decision. I recently learned from a reputable source that two sets of badges were ordered – one in silver for all retiring officers in 2013/2014 and another in gold for everyone but Sgt. Saxon.
I emailed Mayor DiCarlo today to express my disgust; that it’s a disgraceful send off and, in my opinion, illustrates a lack of professionalism and enmity by the decision maker.
Mayor DiCarlo confirmed that it was a Board decision and he did anticipate it might be an issue.
The Amherstburg Police Services Board members, as listed on the town’s website were:
as of November 18, 2014 Councillor John Sutton Frank Cleminson Pauline Gemmell Wayne Hurst as of December 16, 2014 Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, successful municipal candidate Councillor Jason Lavigne, successful municipal candidate Pauline Gemmell, Chair, unsuccessful muncipal candidate Frank Cleminson, unsuccessful muncipal candidate as of January 20, 2015 Mayor Aldo DiCarlo Councillor Jason Lavigne Pauline Gemmell Frank Cleminson Patricia Simone as of March 17, 2015 Mayor Aldo DiCarlo Councillor Jason Lavigne Pauline Gemmell Patricia Simone Robert Rozankovic
I remember some campaign promises to be responsible, accountable, transparent, etc. Wayne Hurst did not run.
The following quotes were published in the River Town Times during the 2014 campaign:
John Sutton “At the end of the day, we’ve had enough negativity,” he said. “For every challenge we have, let’s turn it into opportunity, put our best foot forward so we are in the paper for all the right reasons.”
Aldo DiCarlo A need for greater transparency, accountability and fixing the town’s finances are among the top priority for Aldo DiCarlo. “Why aren’t we discussing everything openly?” he said. “In any decisions being made, I’ll make them for the people who elected me as mayor,” he pledged. “If people are telling me something is wrong, I will address it. Period,” he said.
Jason Lavigne “I tried to educate myself on how things run and how you do things properly. I learned a great deal over the last four years.”
Pauline Gemmell “You have to be open-minded and listen to positions others have as well,” said Gemmell.
Frank Cleminson “I want to bring a team approach to council. I want transparency, accountability and a good dialogue on all the issues that come before us.” While it is fine to debate and disagree on issues, he said that animosity must not occur.
Robert Rozankovic “I see a lot of petty bickering,” said Rozankovic, who questions if council members vote with their colleagues and personal agendas. “Once the road is decided upon, you leave all the pettiness behind. You can’t continue with the bickering because you don’t agree with the decision.”
Not surprisingly, some of the board minutes are not posted and it is unknown when the decision was made.