tps boardRumours have been swirling over how much the Timmins Police spend on legal fees, and Thursday was a day to put most of the talk to rest.

Timmins Mayor Steve Black says the talk in the community and false information passed around was too much to ignore.

According to a release, the Timmins Police Service paid $19,457.76 for legal fees in the OPP’s 2013 investigation of the Chief.

That’s 8% of the total legal fees paid by the Timmins Police in 2013.

“The misconception out in the community is that all the legal fees was regarding the Chief of Police and the investigations, both through the OPP and now though the Police Service Act is responsible for our over-budget when it comes to legal fees,” he said.

“We have more important matters here at the Police Board and the Police service to focus on than dealing with the rumours and the vast amounts of misinformation that are put out there in the community that the Chief of Police may be retiring, and that’s why he’s stalling out this process.

Black says Chief Gauthier is “nowhere close” to retiring.  He’s also heard numbers around $500,000 in the Chief’s legal fees, which again, is “nowhere close.”

In a news release, the board says “staff’s time is being used ineffectively in dealing with these various requests, and it is for that reason I have requested permission for full disclosure of legal costs at this time.”

The information below is a breakdown of the legal fees incurred by the Timmins Police Service (in order: 2012, 2013, 2014 costs)

Settlements (lawsuits): N/A; N/A; $155,000
Grievance/arbitration: $31,700; $94,000; $15,600
Police Service Act matters: $24,000; $102,600; $183,500
Ontario Civilian Police Commission: N/A; N/A; $2,800
Sault Ste. Marie Police Service – investigative assistance: N/A; $14,000; N/A
Human Rights Tribunal: $1,900; $9,900; N/A
Internal employee matter: $5,900; N/A; N/A

Black says he met with Chief Gauthier last week to get permission to go into detail and while he says Gauthier wasn’t obligated to do so, the Chief agreed to release terms of his employment contract.

The release says the contract between the Chief and the Timmins Police Services Board includes a “legal indemnification clause,” which is typical for this position across the province.

“As such, the Board, through the City, covers any legal fees the Chief may incur as part of his duties, if he is found ‘not guilty’ of any offence under any federal or provincial statute,” the release added.

An investigation by the OPP into the conduct of the Chief commenced in July of 2013. At the conclusion of that investigation, the Crown Law Office, Criminal Division, determined that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. The OPP concluded their investigation in November of 2013.

“With respect to the Police Services Act matter now before the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, no legal fees will be disclosed at this time.

Pursuant to the terms of the employment contract for the Chief of Police, he will be responsible for paying the legal fees if found guilty and as such they would not be subject to public disclosure.”

“There are still individuals out there that are never going to be satisfied and they have their own personal agendas to keep moving forward, and that’s fine,” Black adds.

He says the release of info should satisfy the majority of residents, demonstrates their transparency on the issue and allow them to move on.

In regards to the hearing at the end of the month, Black says the board fully supports and stands behind the Chief.