Greater scrutiny on city employee health care claims?


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Coincidence or symptomatic of deeper problems at city hall? Two cases of fraudulent health claims filed by a former city employee and a current member of the St. Thomas Police Service in a matter of months.
Two weeks ago in a tribunal held at city hall, Const. Aaron Fraser pleaded guilty to charges of misconduct and deceit under the Police Services Act and was demoted to second-class constable for one year with a loss of $12,500 in salary.
The charges under the Police Act stem from six fraudulent health claims for massage therapy filed electronically with Manulife, totaling $353, but never rendered.
And on Friday, a release from city police advising Amanda Graham, a former bylaw enforcement officer at the animal shelter, has been arrested and charged with one count of fraud over $5,000 and seven counts of uttering a forged document.
These charges haven’t yet been proven in court and she will make her first appearance later this month. Continue reading

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It’s five o’clock boys, put down the hoses


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Members of the city’s police and fire service account for an overwhelming majority of members in the Sunshine Club each year and 2014 was no exception.

Of the 96 city employees who earned greater than $100,000 last year, 81 work are based at the police station or fire halls.

This corner talked at length last week with Chief Darryl Pinnell who made it very clear, “A lot of it has to do with base salaries now. Things are getting up to the point where base salaries are getting close to that ($100,000) number.”

Likewise, we had a lengthy dialogue with Chief Rob Broadbent on the factors impacting the salaries of firefighters.

“If you look at the Sunshine List this year, you’re going to see a number of firefighters on it versus officers. It’s not uncommon for our officers to be there just by pay grids. Tack a few call-back fires or overtime shifts on top of an officer’s salary and it doesn’t take very much for them to bump over the $100,000 threshold.”
Continue reading