After the OPP Costing Presentation on Monday, February 13th, 2017, Council requested that OPS be given the opportunity to present to Council as well.
This presentation was not so much about the cost of OPS as a service…The cost as well as the 5 year projected budget are readily available to you as public information documents on the Town of Orangeville Website. This presentation was more about the heart of the force, the journey the force has been on since Wayne Kalinski’s reign as Chief began, and where the force is planning to go for the years to come.
I think you all know by now my feelings about the Chief…In my eyes, he is one of the best leaders this Town has ever seen – and here is why. As a leader, he came onto OPS at one of its most difficult times. He jumped in with both feet and presented a vision for OPS that included Community Involvement and Fiscal Responsibility. We’ve seen his vision come to light over the last almost 3 years…In my 25+ years in Orangeville, I don’t remember a time when we’ve ever had officers and the Chief be so immersed in the community and in the last 3 budgets, we have seen a reduction in cost year over year.
But what was so super cool about this presentation to Council is that as you listened to Sergeant McLagan and Sergeant Fry both address Council, you could hear the Chief’s influence in their words. What the Chief has done far surpasses what I believe his initial vision was….through his passion, his vision has become an entire culture within the department. This makes me so confident that when he, one day (hopefully many many years from now), decides to retire, that culture will be so deeply engrained in the officers and civilians alike, that they will not skip a beat to carry on his vision for the force.
Ok, back to the presentation…
Sergeant McLagan began his presentation with this number – 4:50. 4:50 represents OPS’ average response time. This is the most important factor in a life or death situation and Orangeville Police Service has the ability to deliver such a great response time as a result of the Stand-Alone model of policing that is currently what we see with OPS. The feeling of Community was very present in Sergeant McLagan’s presentation as he spoke about every officer being immersed in the community as residents, hockey coaches, soccer coaches, volunteers, big brothers and big sisters. He also outlined that officers come from many different areas: OPP, Toronto Police, Peel Police, York Regional Police, RCMP and so on.
Sergeant Fry has been an officer with OPS for 20 years and before that was an officer for OPP for 20 years. His presentation to Council on behalf of the Police Association began by stating that the last time the Police Association addressed Council was in 2014 when they felt the need to publicly highlight the lack of leadership and fiscal responsibility and now they felt it necessary to address Council to celebrate and highlight the progress and transformation of OPS. “I would respectfully submit that our community has everything to gain, and nothing to lose, by standing down, at least for a while, and turning down the OPP proposal.” His presentation asked a very reasonable question. “I urge you to consider the implications of choosing to be the first to sign under this new model. Is it prudent to trust their new costing model that is unproven? It does not offer cost certainty.” And I do think that is a valid question…do we, Orangeville residents, want to be the guinea pigs for this new costing model? Or does it make more sense to consider this option in 5 years time when other municipalities have been through the process from the very beginning?
Show Me The Money $$
A special shout-out to our Treasurer, Mr. Villeneuve and to our CAO, Mr. Brennan for their diligent work in putting together a cost analysis. The amount of work you put into gathering data and doing a cost comparison was obvious in your presentation.
The data comes down to this: According to all of the information that could be sourced, the OPP is projected to come in approx $4-$5m LESS than our current OPS. Currently, according to the data presented, over 85% of municipalities currently serviced by the OPP pay less than $416 per property while currently, under OPS, we are paying approx $865 per property.
Mr. Villeneuve was clear to state that this was a financial analysis only and was not to serve as an exercise to compare services also stating that this was a neutral analysis that was based solely on the numbers available to him. And the bottom line sounds pretty great…it really does. How nice would it be to the tax payer to have some relief?
In My Humble Opinion
The business side of me, which is really engrained in me, wants so badly to say that OPP is the right decision. When you look at the bottom line, the numbers back it up. $4.5 million is an unbelievable amount of savings…I can’t possibly overlook that.
BUT, something just still doesn’t feel right about this. And the sales person in me is questioning the legitimacy of the numbers. (Let me be clear, I am in no way questioning the Treasurer’s numbers…I think he did his best analysis based on the data he could find) But let me explain my problem with it. Let’s picture this. I’m a sales person and I sell windows. You come to me and ask me for a quote and share with me the other quote you have already received from another window guy. After hearing you out and taking the measurements, I am 100% confident that I can sell you the exact same windows and install them the exact way as the other guy for 50% less…same windows, same service, half the price. As a sales person, I would lead with “Hey, did you know that I can get you those exact same windows for half the price? Let me show you.” What I wouldn’t do is show you the windows that I have available and make you go try to figure out what my price would be by sending you to check out my website and task you with calling my past clients. That’s just not a very transparent way to do business.
What I am getting at is this – If these numbers are truly what they appear to be, why did our Treasurer ever have to try to find them in the first place? Not only did he have to do an excessive amount of research, but he also had to speak to neighbouring municipalities to try to understand the cost. No disrespect to the OPP, but it all just seems a little odd to me…Would you buy windows from someone who made you figure out the price on your own?
I’d love to hear your humble opinions on this matter…have you sent an email to your Council Members yet so they know how you feel?
and please cc the clerk, Susan Greatrix at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please…regardless of which side of this issue you are on, HAVE YOUR SAY!! Do not leave this issue solely to Council. In my opinion, this is perhaps the biggest decision a Council has had to make as long as I can remember….Don’t let your voice be muffled.
Next Council Meeting Date and Public Meeting Date
On Monday, Council voted on a motion to hold the OPS/OPP Public Meeting on Thursday, April 27th at ODSS – The time is TBA once they can coordinate with Rogers Cable as well as ODSS. This meeting will be the opportunity for residents to speak up, share your thoughts, ask your questions. This will NOT run in the same format as a regular Council Meeting. It will be moderated by a neutral moderator and representatives from both OPP and OPS will be available to answer your questions. I will post as soon as the time is announced.
The next regular Council Meeting will be held on Monday, April 24th at 7pm at Town Hall.