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Katz demurs on fire chief's dismissal

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Former Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service Chief Reid Douglas

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Mayor Sam Katz says the departure of Winnipeg Fire-Paramedic Chief Douglas is less than ideal, coming days or weeks before the release of a long awaited fire-paramedic audit.

But Winnipeg's mayor said he does not get involved in personnel matters and that includes the dismissal of the chief, which was disclosed Wednesday following a city council meeting.

Speaking to reporters at city hall on Thursday morning, Katz said he learned about Douglas's departure on Wednesday, along with rest of council.

Multiple city sources say there was a move to dismiss the chief in late August. Douglas denied this in early September.

Katz also urged his council colleagues not to speculate about the reasons behind Douglas' departure.

Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry), Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands), Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) and Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) have all questioned the timing of the dismissal.

The review expected in early October involves the construction of four new fire-paramedic stations, including the over-budget and delayed new Station No. 11 on Portage Avenue and the new Station No. 12 on Taylor Avenue, built on land the city does not own.

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