Paragon con­tract ended

Com­pany al­leges park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cer ha­rassed by city staff

The Expositor (Brantford) - - FRONT PAGE - VIN­CENT BALL EXPOSITOR STAFF

“The City of Brant­ford un­equiv­o­cally re­futes any al­le­ga­tions of ha­rass­ment by city staff to­wards any em­ploy­ees of Paragon.” Maria Visoc­chi, Brant­ford man­ager of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions

The city had ended its con­tract with Paragon Se­cu­rity and its park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cers fol­low­ing the com­pany’s al­le­ga­tion of ha­rass­ment by mu­nic­i­pal staff.

The part­ing of ways took place on Fri­day and comes ahead of the time when a new com­pany – Nep­tune Se­cu­rity Ser­vices – is to take over the park­ing en­force­ment con­tract for the city.

“I pulled my staff off the job on Fri­day morn­ing be­cause of ha­rass­ment by city staff,” Paul Car­son, vice-pres­i­dent at Paragon Se­cu­rity, said Tues­day. “They (the city) held a meet­ing in the af­ter­noon and at 4 p.m. Fri­day I got a let­ter ter­mi­nat­ing the con­tract.”

Car­son wouldn’t go into any de­tails con­cern­ing the na­ture of the ha­rass­ment. Nor would he iden­tify the per­son he be­lieves is re­spon­si­ble for it.

But he said he be­lieves the park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cer was treated un­fairly and felt an obli­ga­tion to pro­tect the of­fi­cer.

A spokesper­son for the city con­firmed Tues­day that Paragon is no longer pro­vid­ing ser­vices for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“The City of Brant­ford un­equiv­o­cally re­futes any al­le­ga­tions of ha­rass­ment by city staff to­wards any em­ploy­ees of Paragon,” Maria Visoc­chi, the city’s man­ager of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said in a state­ment.

“The city has a strict em­ployee code of con­duct in place that we’re con­fi­dent has not been vi­o­lated by any city em­ployee with re­spect to Paragon. As the city tran­si­tions to a new ser­vice provider, it was de­ter­mined that Paragon’s ser­vices were no longer re­quired at this time.”

She said that Nep­tune is ex­pected to be­gin work in the next few weeks.

“In the in­terim, park­ing en­force­ment will be ex­e­cuted on a pri­or­ity ba­sis by the city’s park­ing ser­vices staff. Po­lice ser­vices will also as­sist with en­force­ment if and when re­quired,” said Visoc­chi.

Last month, city coun­cil­lors voted to award the mu­nic­i­pal park­ing con­tract to Nep­tune, end­ing a long-stand­ing ar­range­ment with Paragon and put­ting in doubt the fu­ture of the com­pany’s five park­ing en­force­ment em­ploy­ees.

“Th­ese peo­ple have pro­vided ex­cel­lent ser­vice to the peo­ple of Brant­ford, some for 15 or 16 years,” Car­son said. “They have been shouted at, spat at by peo­ple up­set with get­ting a ticket but have al­ways pro­vided good ser­vice to the city.

“I think they’ve been treated un­fairly.”

Car­son said he be­lieves that Nep­tune has an obli­ga­tion to of­fer jobs to the cur­rent park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cers.

And Paragon also is look­ing to place the park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cers at other jobs close to Brant­ford, he said.

Although Paragon has been pro­vid­ing the ser­vices to Brant­ford for more than 15 years, the ser­vices have been pro­vided on a mon­thto-month ba­sis since 1999.

The city’s bud­get for park­ing ser­vices is $242,000 a year.

This year, city staff de­cided to test the mar­ket and sent out a re­quest for pro­pos­als to pro­vide the ser­vices.

The re­quest for pro­pos­als was a two-step process that re­quired in­ter­ested com­pa­nies to first qual­ify to make an bid and then, if ac­cepted, sub­mit a pro­posal.

Nep­tune was the only com­pany to qual­ify. The com­pany’s pro­posal is to pro­vide the ser­vices for $169,000 a year.

Coun­cil­lors voted 8-2 in favour of award­ing the con­tract to Nep­tune.

BRIAN THOMP­SON/THE EXPOSITOR

The city has ended its more than 15-year re­la­tion­ship with Paragon Se­cu­rity, which pro­vided mu­nic­i­pal park­ing by­law en­force­ment.

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