Jan 05 2015
PETERBOROUGH - The City of Peterborough is suing the chief and deputy chief of police for nearly half a million dollars in relation to the severance pay that was awarded to the pair last year.
According to court documents, the city claims general damages for misfeasance in public office; breach of fiduciary duty; breach of the duty of good faith; and breach of the Police Services Act, totaling $248,920.86 against Chief Murray Rodd and $210,329.46 against Deputy Chief Tim Farquharson.
The city also claims punitive damages against in the amount of $20,000 per defendant.
"(Chief Rodd and Deputy Chief Farquharson) have knowingly engaged in deliberate and unlawful conduct in their capacities as public office holders, knowing the significant damages that would result to the city and, in turn, the taxpayers of the city," reads the statement of claim filed on Dec. 22.
In the claim, the city says the defendants breached their fiduciary duty and duty of good faith to the city by neglecting to provide "full, complete, sufficient, honest and reasonable information" to the city.
Furthermore, the city says the conduct of the defendants amounts to "discreditable conduct, deceit, and a breach of their statutory duties and responsibilities pursuant to the police services act."
Allan Seabrooke, CAO for the city, says the statement of claim was served to the lawyers for Rodd and Farquharson on Dec. 28.
"Right now there's no indication where and when the document will go to court," says Mr. Seabrooke.
In a statement Tuesday (Jan. 5), Alex Sinclair, the lawyer representing both defendants, said this:
"The action that has been brought by the City of Peterborough against the Chief and Deputy Chief is ill-conceived and without merit. It represents an unfortunate waste of taxpayers' money. Our clients will vigorously defend the allegations against them."
In July, an arbitrator deemed that the two top police staffers were entitled to a combined $460,000 in severance when the police service de-amalgamated with Lakefield in late 2014.
The arbitrator's decision followed the de-amalgamation of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service, which council approved in December 2012.
Prior to that approval, as outlined in the statement of claim, the city examined the costs associated with de-amalgamation including any terminations or lay-offs and any severance costs associated with those terminations. The city determined there would be no terminations within the police service, nor would any employees lose employment or suffer a reduction in compensation.
As part of the process of reporting to council on budget implications, Peterborough Treasurer/Director of Corporate Services, Sandra Clancy, requested Rodd review the budget prepared by the city in relation to the costs associated with de-amalgamation and confirm whether the costs were correct.
On Oct. 22, 2013, Rodd responded, saying he had reviewed the budget and that he was "comfortable with what is being said and further that it reflects the truth of the matter," according to the court document.
"The budget prepared by Ms. Clancy at the time did not indicate any potential severance amounts that would be owing to Rodd and Farquharson upon the de-amalgamation of the predecessor board and service, given that the city was unaware of the dissolution of service clauses in each of their respective employment contracts," reads the statement of claim. "Despite Rodd's full knowledge and awareness of his and Farquharson's potential entitlements...Rodd deliberately, willfully and purposely failed to bring those to the attention of Ms. Clancy."
The document claims neither Rodd nor Farquharson reported the costs associated with their dissolution of service clauses, "despite their obligations to do so pursuant to the (police services act) and their employment contracts."
"Had the city been aware of, and had Rodd and Farquharson advised the city of the costs associated with their dissolution of service clauses, the city would have reported those costs to the municipal council and the municipal council may not have proceeded with the de-amalgamation given the significant cost associated with the dissolution of service clauses."
According to the statement of claim, the city learned about the clauses for the first time on Oct. 22, 2014.
(Peterborough This Week)