The Peterborough Examiner

Severance payout tab $459,250

City officials weren’t allowed to see contracts

- JOELLE KOVACH Examiner Staff Writer

The chief and deputy chief of police have been awarded a combined payout of $459,250.32 following the de-amalgamati­on of the local force.

The figure was released Thursday by the city.

Chief Murray Rodd and Deputy Chief Tim Farquharso­n defended the controvers­ial award that led to their severance payments during a press conference Wednesday, confirming that an arbitrator ruled in their favour and granted them severance when the police service deamalgama­ted even though they stayed on the job.

They would not say how much they received.

On Thursday the city of Peterborou­gh stated that Rodd’s been awarded $248,920.96 and Farquharso­n $210,329.46.

Mayor Daryl Bennett said taxpayers need to know how much the two top police officers are expecting, even though Rodd and Farquharso­n didn’t want the sum known.

“I don’t understand why it should be kept private,” Bennett said.

The city also says the police services board has until Aug. 17 to pay up.

Rodd and Farquharso­n didn’t respond to requests for interviews on Thursday.

Andrea Maxie, the acting chairwoman of the Peterborou­gh Police Services Board, wasn’t available for comment on Thursday. Neither was anyone else on the police board.

But former board chairman Alan Wilson, who ran unsuccessf­ully against Bennett in last year’s municipal election, issued a statement Thursday calling on Bennett to resign.

Rodd said on Wednesday that all parties involved knew about the clause in his contract that gives him compensati­on should the force disband. He said it’s been in his contract since 2008.

Yet the city had to make a Freedom of Informatio­n request to get all the contracts of the chief and deputy chief dating back to 2008. When city officials got those contracts, they were redacted: a final clause, one Rodd says provides a payout for Rodd and Farquharso­n, was blacked out. It’s the only informatio­n redacted in the contracts, which were made available to The Examiner.

Bennett said he found it “appalling” that the city had to apply to see the contracts through FOI in the first place. Worse still, he said, there was crucial informatio­n left out.

Bennett noted that in the most recent contract for Rodd, signed in April, the redacted section was far more substantiv­e than in earlier contracts. He based that on the size of the blacked-out area.

Something was added, he said, but he wouldn’t speculate what that might be.

Meanwhile Bennett also said he could have read Rodd’s entire contract, when he was last on the police board in 2011, but didn’t.

Bennett had requested a copy of Rodd’s contract at that time, he said, but was refused. He could read it only at the police station, during business hours – and he didn’t want to do that.

“Making an appointmen­t to see it (the contract) would not have been a good use of my time,” he said.

City CAO Allan Seabrooke said the city will be appealing to get unredacted copies of the contracts. He said it’s clear there were items added to the terminatio­n clause in the most recent contracts, drafted and signed after the deamalgama­tion process was underway.

“We want all the informatio­n – not partial informatio­n,” he said.

The arbitrator’s decision says the police board has until Aug. 17 to pay up, Seabrooke said. That’s 30 days from the day the decision was rendered July 17.

Yet Seabrooke said the board hasn’t asked the city for any money yet. When it does, then Seabrooke said he’ll have to go to council and ask.

Coun. Dean Pappas said on Thursday he won’t be giving them a cent. He said earlier this month he would never vote to give any money for a payout, that the board should find the money in its own budget.

“I’m still not voting to pay it,” he said Thursday.

Coun. Dave Haacke, who is on the police board, wouldn’t comment on Thursday. Coun. Dan McWilliams, also on the board, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Bennett and Rodd have been feuding for years, since the city said no to the police board’s budget request in 2011.

Coun. Diane Therrien said she thought it was unfortunat­e the rancour is making headlines again, but that perhaps relations can improve from here.

“Moving forward in a better way – that’s what I hope will come of this.”

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