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Councillors surprised by Katz’s account of a closed-door meeting over police HQ audit

The newly renovated building at Smith Street and St. Mary Avenue, formerly the Canada Post offices and now the Headquarters for the Winnipeg Police Service.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The newly renovated building at Smith Street and St. Mary Avenue, formerly the Canada Post offices and now the Headquarters for the Winnipeg Police Service. Photo Store

The deliberations of Mayor Katz’s executive committee are becoming murkier by the hour.

The two EPC councillors who portrayed themselves as breaking ranks to support a police headquarters audit dispute Katz’s account of a closed-door meeting Monday afternoon.

Councillors Jeff Browaty and Brian Mayes held a news conference Tuesday morning, announcing their support of the audit – apparently distancing themselves from Katz and other EPC members who voted against the audit in November.

It appeared that their new-found support had triggered an avalanche of additional support from those who had voted against the audit in November.

But Katz said this morning Mayes and Browaty had only gone public after EPC agreed to support the audit the day before.

Katz said that six of the seven EPC members, including Browaty and Mayes, met Monday afternoon and agreed to bring a motion to council later this month calling on an audit and a study to determine if the taxpayers received good value on the project.

Now, Browaty and Mayes said Katz had misrepresented what happened at that Monday meeting.

While Browaty (North Kildonan) and Mayes (St. Vital) concede the issue of the audit was discussed Monday at a closed-door meeting of EPC, they both claim that Katz did not have support for a motion – and that Katz didn’t even support it then.

"I’m surprised the mayor stated what he did," Browaty said this afternoon, adding there was no agreement at the Monday meeting to bring to council a motion for an audit.

"As of the time we (he and Mayes) made our announcement on Tuesday, that was not where (EPC) were going," Browaty said. "I learned of the mayor supporting an audit an hour after we did our thing – I was completely surprised.

"The two of us (Browaty and Mayes) wanted an audit. We had gone together to see Sam on Monday, to tell him we were at that position to call for an audit.

"Nobody else in the room at that point wanted an audit."

Earlier today, Katz credited Coun. Jenny Gerbasi – one of the seven councillors who did vote for an audit in November – with convincing him of the need to support an audit, at the very least to end the public’s obsession on the issue.

Katz said that many members of EPC believe an audit is a waste of money and will not reveal any new information but added they now support it to end the intensive public lobbying that has been going on for the past few weeks.

Katz’s office did not respond to Browaty’s comments.

Browaty is chairman of the property and development committee; Mayes is chairman of the protection and community services committee.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM CST: adds photo

4:07 PM: Writethru.

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