Home Announcements In-Camera “Abuses” Continue With Midland Police Services Board
In-Camera “Abuses” Continue With Midland Police Services Board

In-Camera “Abuses” Continue With Midland Police Services Board


In our continued examination of in-camera (closed) meetings at the Town of Midland, we turned our gaze at the Police Services Board.  In a MidlandCommunity.ca article titled January Council Highlights from February 2014, Roy Ellis and Stewart Strathearn wrote one of many articles complaining of the lack of transparency at the Police Services Board.  They commented that “George Dixon recently made a deputation to the Police Services Board in which he expressed his view that the Board is holding meetings behind closed doors in violation of the Police Services Act. ”  This article perpetuates the theme established by Midland Community that in-camera meetings deprive the community of information and reflect poorly on the participants namely the previous Members of Council that disagreed with them.  They openly criticize the previous Council and Police Services Board for in-camera meetings saying they are unnecessary and indicate a lack of transparency.  

Hypocrisy MeterKeeping this in mind, and following our review of in-camera uses (or “abuses” as Ellis, Dixon and Strathearn have said before they were the ones on the committees & boards) in 2015, we read every set of minutes for the Police Services Board since January 2015.  What shocked us is that in January of 2015 George Dixon and Stewart Strathearn were given the opportunity to fix the perceived lack of transparency when Midland Council appointed them both to the Police Services Board.  They were even selected as Chair and Vice-Chair giving them their big opportunity to avoid in-camera meetings and remove any evidence of secrecy.  Since that time they have held 13 Police Service Board meetings and every single meeting has had an in-camera portion to the meeting.  Not one meeting was without an in-camera item. 

Is the Chair George Dixon, breaching the Police Services act as he suggested was the case for the previous Board?

Is the Board, led by George Dixon and Stewart Strathearn conducting improper meetings and depriving Midland citizens of information they should have?

Where is all the negativity from Roy Ellis in his monthly rebukes of Council and Boards now?  Perhaps the reality cheque just arrived on time, along with our future.  Now that MidlandCommunity.ca’s founding members are on so many boards, Council and committees, we don’t hear or read much whining anymore other than about wages and benefits of those who are in the trenches actually keeping the town working.

The truth of it is, we don’t think it is wrong to hold in-camera meetings.  We understand that some things need to be private.  However, it is clear that Mr. Ellis, Mr. Dixon and Mr. Strathearn use allegations of secrecy or breaching the Police Services Act to improperly criticize previous Members of Council and the Police Services Board to forward their own agendas.  

Midland Community.ca January 2016 Council Update

“As you may know, MidlandCommunity.ca has been critical of some recent staff discussions and recommendations, including the 3-year non-unionized staff management agreement which we believe is rich and begs for much needed change, the perplexing withdrawal from the Midland Fire arbitration process and the resulting generous agreement, a staff that is seemingly paralyzed when faced with the task of attacking the fiscal budget to reduce spending and taxes, and the ambitious meeting schedule of current IBEW labour negotiations which could only be described as bizarre; perhaps all contributed to a change at the top. “


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  1. As Midland’s first ever Police Services Board Chairman who was paid $1 more than his colleagues per meeting, one can’t recall in-camera meetings more numerous one could count on on one hand, although one believes it was probably no more than one or two, if memory serves this writer right. When we were hiring a new police chief those interviews were conducted in private, otherwise most other meetings were open to the general public…..now Midland council seems to be setting new records when it comes to in-camera meetings 34 in 14 month, does that sound about right….. and now police board private meeting are raising red flags. What gives, in a world of open government by and for the people, local taxpayers may need to worry about this new style of school tie old boys government. Yes there are times when meetings should be held in private, and results later made public. But if this worrisome old boys fraternity tradition is to continue unabated, ratepayers have every right to be deeply concerned…wouldn’t you agree?

  2. Classic hypocrisy. Did you really think that a board controlled by it’s former biggest critics was a good idea? Now they realize that all the whining they were doing was unjustified and are doing the very things they loathed of their predecessors. Funny how their buddies in MidlandCommunity are all deaf and dumb now with nothing bad to say about their in-camera meetings now that they run the board and realize that they had no choice. What a bunch of blowhards.

  3. With in-camera meetings being as popular as jelly beans at town hall and police services board sessions, one can only wonder aloud, why so many secret meetings. Fraternal organizations traditionally hold members only gatherings for behind closed door initiations….but, they are not tax funded. In the case of municipal affairs it is always best for open government for and by the people. ( he last provincial Ombudsman was keenly concerned about the growing number of in-camera meetings conducted by councils et all across the province.)Yes on rarest occasions should meetings be held in camera, personnel matters for instance would be warranted. But please don’t tell us all these meetings in last year or so conducted in secret were called over staff issues. Yes it is probably easier to meet at any time of the day, to quickly gather behind closed doors and make a flurry of decisions and then head back to work or home for supper….but where is the transperancy many ran on when seeking office? Midlanders deserves better….don’t you think?

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In-Camera “Abuses” Continue With Midland Police Services Board

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