Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Taxicab board officials dismissed

City councillor says it's 'ludicrous' remaining members haven't been told

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THE provincial government will hail a new taxicab board secretary and chief taxicab inspector.

A provincial government spokeswoman confirmed secretary Joan Wilson and chief taxicab inspector Gary Stillson "are no longer with the taxicab board and the positions have been posted."

The spokeswoman said no further comment would be made by government because of personnel privacy considerations. Wilson and Stillson could not be reached for comment.

Winnipeg city Coun. Harvey Smith, a member of the taxicab board as a representative of the city, said the board still hasn't been told about the dismissals even though they occurred a week ago.

"I think it's absolutely beyond belief that the board members have not been notified," Smith said Wednesday. "I would really appreciate a call. As a board member, I should be notified of this. It's ludicrous we're being kept in the dark."

Smith said he doesn't know why the pair have been let go. He said there were no signs of this happening at the last board meeting.

Gurmail Mangat, the former chairman of Unicity Taxi, said he's glad the two are being replaced.

Mangat recently ran afoul of the taxicab board and accused it of unfair dealings in how it handled complaints against him and other drivers.

Mangat's cab licence was suspended by the taxicab board Feb. 21 after he was accused of uttering threats. Stillson sent a suspension letter to Unicity Taxi without holding a hearing at which Mangat could plead his case. Mangat's suspension was overturned by a Court of Appeal justice in March pending a hearing.

As well, Unicity management said in an email to the province and minister Kevin Chief on March 10 that the company believed Wilson -- Unicity's former general manager before becoming taxicab board secretary -- was in a conflict of interest when dealing with the company.

"We are very pleased they are no longer there," Mangat said. "(We feel) like a prisoner getting out of jail. It took a while."

The taxi cab board secretary position has full responsibility for taxicab inspections and taxicab complaints.

The closing date for applications for both positions is Monday.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2014 B6

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