Posted October 4, 2013
In a lengthy letter published in the local daily newspaper, Guelph Police Services Board (GPSB) Chairperson, Judy Sobera, offered a lecture on police services procedure; why they awarded a convicted police officer, Chris Panylo, another seven months of suspension before he formally retired; and high praise of Chief Bryan Larkin’s role.
If she proved anything for this terrible decision to keep paying a suspended rogue drug squad policeman, it is that the Ontario Police Services Act needs a dramatic overhaul. It needs to give management the right to dismiss officers who are convicted of breaking the laws they are sworn to uphold.
This was not a case of an officer accepting a free double double at Tim Hortons.
Panylo was charged with criminal offences, including using drugs on duty, stealing drugs from evidence and buying steroids from a fellow officer. He should have gone to jail but a lenient court fined him $1,000 plus forfeit of 160 hours or 20 days pay. This cost him $4,670. But wait. He’s been on paid suspension, pending the outcome of a Police Services Act hearing. Now in a deal to get Panylo to resign, the GPSB approved paying him another seven months of paid suspension. By any stretch of the imagination, that’s a pretty good gig.
So now to get rid of a lawbreaking cop, the stage has been set. In order to get rid of him or her, in Guelph, it’s a case of “I’ll stay if I’m not paid to resign”.
The GPSB acted inappropriately in approving this settlement. They failed to reveal all aspects of the case but said they were acting in the public interest by saving untold thousands of dollars in future hearings and potential appeals.
The question is, was the board unanimous in approving this deal? As members of the GPSB, did Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge and Coun. Leanne Piper support the decision? If they did, what were they thinking?
This is the same board that announced last year that the new addition to the Police Services headquarters would cost $13 million. This week, it was announced the cost had ballooned to $31 million.
This echoes the Farmer’s Market debacle in which council approved spending $176,000 renovating the market only to find three months later the cost was $500,000.
Obviously the GPSB thinks big. Its proposal will now cost an additional $15 million. There goes the downtown library again!
Some councillors are now complaining that they are being left out of the capital-spending loop. Ladies and Gentlemen, our elected representatives in city government, that has been going on for the last seven years. You have been aced out of the job to which you were elected.
The next few months will see the 2014 city budget debated and approved. This will be the last one before next year’s October civic election.
It will be the same old shell game appearing to cut costs and being more transparent.
Fasten your seat belts.