The wheels of jus­tice

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice chief de­fends is­su­ing ve­hi­cles to 13 man­agers

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - SYD­NEY

The chief of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Ser­vice is deny­ing union al­le­ga­tions that pro­vid­ing pub­licly funded ve­hi­cles for 13 man­agers comes at the ex­pense of ad­e­quate trans­porta­tion needs for other units.

“This is about a cou­ple of in­di­vid­u­als caus­ing trou­ble. This is a per­sonal at­tack,” Chief Peter McIsaac said in an in­ter­view Thurs­day when ques­tioned about union con­cerns.

He said his man­agers are on call at all times and need ve­hi­cles im­me­di­ately at hand to travel to var­i­ous crime scenes at all hours of the day.

He said a man­ager be­ing as­signed a ve­hi­cle is a ne­ces­sity, not a perk.

McIsaac said the depart­ment’s ve­hi­cle pol­icy pro­hibits us­ing the ve­hi­cles for per­sonal use but the union con­tends there are plenty of ex­am­ples of man­agers do­ing ex­actly that. McIsaac said he would like to see doc­u­mented ev­i­dence of that.

McIsaac said man­agers are per­mit­ted to take their ve­hi­cles home but are told to only use them for po­lice busi­ness.

A se­ries of email ex­changes be­tween McIsaac and union vice-pres­i­dent Const. Greg Liv­ing­stone was sent to var­i­ous media out­lets Thurs­day, and McIsaac con­firmed the con­tent of the ex­changes.

“We know how tough times are here in the CBRM and how tight bud­gets are. It is no longer re­al­is­tic to think it is ac­cept­able for all man­agers to have their own ve­hi­cles,” Liv­ing­stone wrote in one ex­change.

“On a per­sonal level, I find it of­fen­sive that thou­sands of dol­lars that I pay in prop­erty taxes are be­ing spent in such a reck­less way.”

Liv­ing­stone then pro­posed that only the three most se­nior po­si­tions, in­clud­ing the chief, be as­signed ve­hi­cles, while the oth­ers are dis­trib­uted across the ser­vice’s four di­vi­sions.

In re­sponse, McIsaac said if ve­hi­cles are needed any­where across the op­er­a­tion, there is a process to be fol­lowed and that man­agers will deal with it ac­cord­ingly.

“As a di­rec­tive, don’t send me any more mes­sages re­gard­ing this mat­ter. Have a great day,” McIsaac wrote in an email ex­change.

McIsaac ex­plained Thurs­day that his ref­er­ence to not send­ing him mes­sages re­ferred to the union fol­low­ing the chain of com­mand, as op­posed to in­volv­ing his of­fice di­rectly.

Liv­ing­stone said man­agers, like union mem­bers, should be able to drive them­selves to work and pick up their ve­hi­cle there.

McIsaac said the is­sue is be­ing raised in re­tal­i­a­tion against a man­age­ment de­ci­sion not to em­ploy a manda­tory min­i­mum of 23 of­fi­cers work­ing the back shift dur­ing the sum­mer months. He said the force did that last sum­mer but overtime costs went through the roof.

The union is rep­re­sented by the Nova Sco­tia Gov­ern­ment Em­ploy­ees Union, whose pres­i­dent Joan Jessome said Thurs­day that McIsaac’s ar­gu­ment is sim­i­lar to that of the union’s.

“Cars are not sa­cred cows,” she said, adding that she will be meet­ing with the union’s ex­ec­u­tive this week­end to re­view the sit­u­a­tion.

“Why should a ve­hi­cle be left in some­one’s drive­way when it could be used else­where?” asked Jessome.

McIsaac said that dur­ing his 14 years in po­lice man­age­ment, there were times when man­agers did not have ac­cess to ve­hi­cles and used their own, which he termed “bush league.” McIsaac’s po­lice ve­hi­cle is a Dodge Dakota.

Man­agers who use their own ve­hi­cles are en­ti­tled to claim a mileage rate of 44.23 cents per kilo­me­tre.

A spokes­woman for Mayor Ce­cil Clarke said Thurs­day she was un­aware of such an is­sue be­ing raised with the mayor or coun­cil.

The po­lice ser­vice has a fleet of some 100 ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing pa­trol cars, bikes and Sea-Doos.

“(The union) do not ap­pre­ci­ate what man­agers do, nor do they care. Man­agers have to be sup­ported,” said McIsaac.

CAPE BRE­TON POST The union rep­re­sent­ing some 100 of­fi­cers with the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice is ques­tion­ing why 13 man­agers are as­signed ve­hi­cles. The union con­tends only three need a ve­hi­cle and the other cars can be used else­where across the ser­vice’s four di­vi­sions.

CAPE BRE­TON POST Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Chief Peter McIsaac told re­porters Thurs­day he fully sup­ports the need for 13 po­lice man­agers to be as­signed ve­hi­cles. He said his man­agers work plenty of ex­tra hours and do not re­ceive overtime pay. He said be­ing as­signed a ve­hi­cle is a ne­ces­sity, not a perk.

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