Friday, April 16, 1999

John Duncanson

p. B1.

Union seeks Boothby probe

Police chief accused of denying promotions

Toronto's police union says Chief David Boothby is violating the Police Services Act by refusing to promote officers who are subject of investigations or public complaints.

In a rare move, the 7,000-member Toronto Police Association has decided to call for a full investigation by the province into what it describes as Boothby's "unsatisfactory work performance" as outlined in the police act. The union claims, in a complaint filed yesterday with Solicitor-General Bob Runciman, that Boothby has made a "conscious decision to remain in breach" of the police act when it comes to promotions, despite the legal opinion of the force's lawyer, Rusty Beauchesne, and another from city deputy solicitor Albert Cohen.

According to the union, the lawyers advised senior management, including Boothby, in November, 1996, that the "process of holding back an award (promotion) pending the completion of an investigation or because of a member's employment history would be in violation of the Police Services Act. "It is highly regrettable that the chief of police has denied dedicated members of the Toronto police their well-earned promotions," said the complaint, which was signed by association president Craig Bromell.

A spokesperson for the chief said last night Boothby was unaware that the union had filed a complaint. The move is an escalation of tension between the union and police command.

The union has requested that Runciman ask that the matter be investigated by the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services. The provincial watchdog has wide-ranging powers to investigate the actions of police services boards.

A spokesperson for the solicitor-general's office confirmed yesterday that the complaint had been received and forwarded to the civilian commission for review.

In an interview, Bromell said the union filed the complaint on behalf of three officers, but added that since 1994 between 20 and 30 other officers have been treated similarly. Two officers at the centre of the complaint have already been cleared of any wrongdoing. The third officer's case is pending.

Boothby flouts law, union says

"Chief Boothby has decided to withhold awards notwithstanding the fact that he has been advised that to do so would clearly be in violation of the Ontario Police Services Act," the complaint states.

Bromell said the union had no choice but to request an investigation because efforts to get Boothby to correct the situation "fell on deaf ears."

"The bottom line is that we want this practice stopped immediately," Bromell said, adding that the union executive was unanimous in deciding to call for an investigation of Boothby's actions.

In the complaint, the union pointed to an arbitration award given to a York Region police officer. His promotion had been withheld pending the outcome of a manslaughter charge laid against him by the province's special investigations unit.

That officer, Detective Robert Wiche, was cleared in the fatal shooting of a Markham youth in August, 1997.

According to the union, an arbitrator ordered that Wiche be granted a promotion with full back pay and stated that "the fact that a member has been charged is an irrelevant consideration to determine whether or not he should be promoted."

Toronto Police clippings… [Fiona Stewart]

Created: October 8, 2000
Last modified: October 8, 2000
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