City won't say how much it paid former Kamloops bylaw officers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City won't say how much it paid former Kamloops bylaw officers

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The Kamloops bylaw department is putting a years-long arbitration in the rear view mirror but not before it pays out the officers the city wronged.

Just how much the legal fees and the settlement have cost taxpayers hasn't been revealed, nor the reason for a non-disclosure agreement that conceals it, but has learned nearly two dozen officers were paid thousands by the city.

The payments ranged from around $50,000 to nearly $100,000 for the 22 people who were bylaw officers before the department was overhauled and their titles were changed to "community service officers."

Fire chief and protective services director Ken Uzeloc said the settlement and the arbitration costs came to a "fraction" of amounts previously floated in news media, which was around $3 to $5 million.

READ MORE: City of Kamloops, union come to agreement over bylaw dispute

Uzeloc has only been in charge of the department since October, taking over from Byron McCorkell who was promoted to deputy chief administrative officer. It was McCorkell who spurred the bylaw department overhaul in the summer of 2020, which was challenged by the union.

The rebranded bylaw enforcement officers were given training to deal with more street and social issues, while they were required to get RCMP security clearance and to pass a fitness test. Multiple officers left the job, some unable to pass the new requirements, but they were also among those awarded settlements.

Independent arbitrator Andy Sims ruled against the city last year, finding the overhaul broke the collective agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 900. The city lost again on appeal when it took the matter up with the BC Labour Relations Board.

Forced to negotiate, the city settled with the union and the 22 bylaw officers.

READ MORE: Kamloops bylaw overhaul violated union agreement but dispute isn't over

Uzeloc said the settlement marks the end of any dispute with the union over the bylaw department, meaning the city can finally get the department fully staffed and patrolling 24 hours per day — something promised with additional funding more than three years ago.

He also said the city can will begin lobbying to have its bylaw officers formally recognized as peace officers in BC. That would allow them to demand identification during an investigation, giving greater authority to the department.

He said the city isn't looking to give them weapons or handcuffs, but it would allow for more authority if the officers were to detain someone until police arrive at a scene.

Union president Ken Davis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from

Go here for more of our stories on the Kamloops bylaw department.

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