Winnipeg Police pension changes and City Hall Bureaucracy

WiseUpWinnipeg – volunteer public advocates

The City of Winnipeg is proposing to change the police pension bylaw to make the pension more sustainable using the new Provincial public sector pension and benefits legislation. Mainly change City / taxpayers contributions from 18% to match employee contributions of 8%, require 20 years service and age 60 for full pension, remove pensionable overtime and have the members share some of the risk.

This similar to changes made or planned to other unsustainable pensions at the City, Province and across Canada with an aging population, more early retirements and other real factors.

It is no wonder the WPS has been eating up 27 – 29% of the City’s $1 – $1.12 Billion budget with 85% going towards salaries, pensions and other benefits, been consistently over budget, required pension defecit bailouts and getting Millions of dollars diverted from MPI overcharges instead of these being refunded, being pressured by the Province and City to reign in inefficiencies and unsustainable spending.

They have more officers per capita than anywhere in Canada, earning on average more than any police service in Canada, their overtime is pensionable earnings, employee pension contributions of 8% of salary and City / public contributions of 18.48% and full pension at 55 after 20 years service.

Is what EPC and City Council voting on reasonable? It is more inline with other City staff, is better than most provincial staff and is well above the average in the private sector.

More on the pension changes and history below.

This and other unsustainable spending at the City is why it had it’s credit rating downgraded and Bowman and former Finance chair Morantz had to go to NYC to grovel to prevent more downgrades.

They came back with plan for multi million dollar traffic managment system they couldn’t afford but implemented anyway. They not even using it to correct dangerously short amber light times that would reduce rear end and related collisions by 50% or more. They choosing the 95% increase in red light camera “violation” revenue instead of public safety. This and related would be criminal if it was not government sanctioned.

If this is important to you contact the Mayor and your City Councilor to voice your concerns and ask how they plan to vote on this. Same if your councillor on EPC.

Contact your MLA and the Minister of Infrastructure about the photo “enforcement” Conditions of Authority not being enforced and amending the HTA so it requires compliance with National Engineering safety standards like MUTCD and ITE for signage, amber times, speed limits etc…

WPS overtime issues and pension history

Some WPS officers have bern getting sent on calls where there is a lower risk to public safety and a cadet, social services or community group member could be sent. This has increased calls for service and OT but this is starting to finally change with better policy and direction as serious crime has been much higher than than Canadian average and increasing while most of Canada decreasing.

The WPS has been allowing officers to transfer to the traffic unit near the end of their careers and work large amounts of overtime to effectively pad their pensions as it partly based on their best five years.

Up until recent legislation changes officers were also required to attend traffic court when those they accused of traffic violations exercised their right to plead not guilty to these alleged offenses. They would often only put off duty hours for availability to collect several hours or a half day of pensionable OT.

Many officers (often with quotas) were aggressively targeting locations with known, created and dangerous traffic engineering deficiencies in signage, short amber times, artificially reduced speed limits etc … to take advantage of the system flaws for personal gain rather than report missing, obscured or inadequate signage, focus on locations with real safety concerns etc…

Some officers have even admitted to issuing unfair tickets but said it is for the courts to sort out. Very few warnings are issued anymore for drivers with good records. Officers in total have been issuing up to 60,000 alleged traffic offenses in Winnipeg each year. This on top of up to 150,000 photo “enforcement” alleged offenses issued per year and both of these have been trending up.

The City’s annual compensation disclosure reports has shown several officers making up to $150,000 per year before public pension contributions and some other benefits. That was more than the Chief and then some have retired early with over $100.000 per year for life and then a part of this can go to their spouse.

Project drive exposed by WUW FIPPA requests showed over $1 Million in OT paid out to officers in a month and they issued about $900,000 worth of tickets. This before public paid pension contributions of 14 – 18% as their OT is pensionable earnings.

FIPPA requests from WUW and MB PUB reports show MPI diverted millions of dollars in overcharges instead of refunding to pay WPS officers diverted from community support and other important units or to work pensionable OT for “enhanced enforcement” in engineering deficient locations. Senior WPS John Burchill saying “It to help counter the City reducing our budget and we hope the “data” will help get more funding like this”. The City was trying to reign in unsustainable spending.

Many reports of officers waiting until they nearing the end of their shift to arrest suspects in known locations to allow several hours to process and do paperwork plus other tactics to get more pensionable OT.

Some officers investigated or charged with fraud for fraudulent OT but no meaningful consequences with the double standards within the police and Justice System.

The WPA union lied or mislead for years before and during negotiations. This exposed before the last CBA with many FIPPA requests. They finally got a more sustainable deal. Still higher than most other City and Provincial unions have gotten recently. They have forced arbitration many times even when they were getting favorable offers when considering all the facts.

We agree Bowman has done terrible job in many ways but WPS’s higher compensation and unsustainable pension bylaw was all negotiated and enacted before Bowman’s time.

He and his EPC +2, the Wpg Police Boards and Chiefs just allowed the trend to continue until the last negotiations when the Province finally put pressure on them to be fiscally responsible. The Police board and Chiefs response was to close two serious crime units that were partnering with RCMP.

The issues above and others like it are the main reasons the pension became unsustainable and needing deficit bailouts.

This article from Aug has the City reporting the Police Pension was not in deficit anymore.

This WPS Pension report from 2012 says the pension was in deficit and City contributions increased from 8% to 14%.

There is no information we could find about the City mismanaging anything with the police pension. There is claims from the union that decades ago the City used surplus from the pension but the union didn’t provide any details. Recent FIPPA requests proved the union was lying or misleading during the last negotiations so how much of what they say can be trusted?

There is a stabalization component of the fund that is nearly exhausted which maybe due to unsustainable pensionable OT, padding pensions before retiring early and other issues already identified.

From the following Council meeting minutes the City / taxpayers are on the hook if the pension investments don’t do as well as expected. The police pension bylaw requires the City make up for the lower returns.

The Police mismanaged how officers utilized, allowed pensionable OT to get out of control and no consequences. They just asked for more unsustainable budget increases every year and union forced arbitration every four years to get unsustainable increases.

This unsustainability has only started to change after the PC government recently began putting pressure on the City to be more financially responsible.

The new public sector pension and benefits legislation can be used by the City if they need to, to help restore sustainability.

See point 59. Winnipeg Police Pension Plan – Solvency Exemption under

Comments and discussion here

Sadly there are many that a wilfully blind to the real issues and facts in front of them, they are often victims of years of false and misleading information and other propaganda tactics or they are benefiting from it at the expense of the majority.

blindness goes BOTH ways.

The many FIPPA requests, annual compensation disclosure reports, other public records we rely on and the well documented trend in behavior by senior WPS and WPA (union) plus many officers speaks for itself.

We are not saying the job that many officers have is not tough and that they should not be compensated adequately.

They should be and it just needs to be reasonable and sustainable which it is not based on what taxpayers can afford, what other jurasdictions in Canada are doing and other pension changes in Manitoba and across Canada due to people living longer, retiring earlier and other real factors.

I only see WPS being targetted these days. No one bats an eye with the gross income and benefits our counsellors and Govt are screwing people out of. Seems front line staff are good enough to bust their asses for us and all we do is tear them a new one. Open the can of worms up…. but do it for everyone.

We agree about councillors, other politicians, bureaucrats and justices being way overpaid and compensated for the amount of work they actually do. We have called this and other fiscal irresponsibility out before and not enough wanted to do something meaningful. We must not give up as we are opposing a well funded, biased and greased system.

We agree we need to support front line workers as long as what they receiving reasonable and sustainable. Unions helped restore a balance but have gotten too powerful and influencial, often using unethical or worse means so we have swung too far the other way.

It isn’t just WPS, the water & waste, transit, healthcare, education and other groups have seen pressure to restore sustainability. Many have had short term wage freezes, pension changes or it already being discussed.

The City owes over $1 Billion in net debt, the Province $23 Billion plus Hydro owes Billions and rising after the Katz, Bowman and SpeNDP reigns. They both have had credit downgrades and the interest payments are larger than many entire departments budgets.