Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 10/25/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Angry city councillors are turning their sights on Mayor Sam Katz and his senior cabinet in the wake of the fire-hall scandal.
Couns. Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) and Ross Eadie (Mynarski) said Katz should follow ex-CAO Phil Sheegl and resign.
"This is an insane world at city hall, and the mayor is responsible," Smith said. "We shouldn't be asking (Katz) to resign -- He should be voluntarily coming forward and resigning."
Katz said he would not respond to calls for his resignation, adding councillors are entitled to their opinions.
Eadie said Katz has been trying to divert blame in the fire-hall scandal to all of council and most recently to the members of executive policy committee.
"He's blaming everyone," Eadie said. "It's time (Katz) took responsibility."
Eadie said Katz brought Sheegl to city hall and pushed his advancement all the way to become chief administrative officer.
Smith said only a small group of councillors -- himself, Eadie, Russ Wyatt (Transcona), Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) and John Orlikow (River Heights) -- voted against hiring Sheegl as CAO, adding all other councillors should accept responsibility over the mess Sheegl created at city hall.
"The ones that were on EPC (at the time) should own up to the fact that they made all this possible -- they're not getting any credit for the harm they are doing.
"And the mayor is obviously the leader of the group."
Sheegl, a close friend of Katz, was hired as the city's property director in 2008 and then rose quickly up the administrative ladder to deputy CAO and then CAO.
Current EPC members Wyatt and Scott Fielding (St. James) said they do not hold Katz responsible for Sheegl's blunders and are not calling for his resignation.
Wyatt (Transcona) said he always had concerns about Sheegl's ability, adding he was saddened to see recent events have shown his judgment was correct.
Wyatt opposed Sheegl's appointment to CAO and called for his resignation a year ago.
Katz told reporters Thursday it was a letter signed by five of the six EPC members on Oct. 2, demanding he fire Sheegl, that led to Sheegl resigning last week.
The EPC letter, Katz said, resulted in negotiations with Sheegl's lawyer that ultimately led to his resignation.
Katz said concerns Sheegl's resignation allowed him to leave city hall with a generous severance package are inaccurate, adding conditions in Sheegl's contract ensured it made no difference whether he quit or was fired.
Katz said he believes it would have been better to have Sheegl still on staff to answer questions raised about the Ernst & Young review into the fire-hall scandal.
Katz said Sheegl's decision to terminate fire chief Reid Douglas -- a key figure in the fire-hall probe -- in September was the major factor that turned most members of council against Sheegl, including himself.
"It would have been a lot better if there had not been a letter asking for (Sheegl's) immediate dismissal," Katz said, adding a decision on his friend's fate would then have been made after the Ernst & Young review had been released.
"The end result would probably have been the same."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 25, 2013 B2
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Jets centre Lowry slapped with one-game suspension
Winnipeg's first battery-powered electric bus goes into service tomorrow
Zoo has faults, but it's not all bad
MD sees charges dropped
City committee gives three fire halls historic designations
Liquor store workers start voting today on possible strike before Christmas
Handful of First Nations yet to disclose finances
Siloam Mission opens podiatry room to help homeless with foot care
Polo Park debuts shopping app in time for Black Friday
Funds for Guay Park riverbank project going to balance city's books instead
Queen of crime writing PD James dies aged 94
CBC, NHL websites briefly affected by hack
Flap over leadership-vote plans
Sexual-assault myths persist
Ferguson fallout: Dozens arrested in Calif. unrest
Bowman among local celebrities to appear in RWB's Nutcracker
Manitoba economic outlook 'a good news story': Conference Board
'Fun party for two' ends in tragedy
General strike shuts down services across Greece
'Bannock Lady' Guiboche among human rights awards recipients
Farmers' incomes beefed up
Tory MP retracts video devices advice
Warmer weather -- and snow -- on the way
Ugly but still worth two points
Roll the (delicious) dice
Dog River faces crisis in 'Corner Gas' movie
Fire hits St. Norbert homes
Hut stuff: This year's winning entries stretch the imagination
Economic outlook anything but boring
Jazz for justice
Israel says it busted Hamas cell planning attacks
Cold Specks expands sound to create music she won't tire of
Syrian troops kill 30 rebels near Damascus
OPEC keeps oil output on hold despite low prices
Putin's tiger ravages goat farm in northeast China
Taliban attack rocks upscale Kabul district
Mining boom at stake, Greenland votes amid turmoil