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Mayor's comment about EPC resignations puzzle councillors

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In centre, Mayor Sam Katz with Executive Policy Committee members (from left): Jeff Browaty, Brian Mayes, Grant Nordman, Mike Pagtakhan, Justin Swandel and Russ Wyatt. Katz announced Nordman and Swandel will join the committee, replacing Dan Vandal and Scott Fielding.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

In centre, Mayor Sam Katz with Executive Policy Committee members (from left): Jeff Browaty, Brian Mayes, Grant Nordman, Mike Pagtakhan, Justin Swandel and Russ Wyatt. Katz announced Nordman and Swandel will join the committee, replacing Dan Vandal and Scott Fielding. Photo Store

Mayor Sam Katz is raising questions about the reasons why councillors Dan Vandal and Scott Fielding recently resigned from the powerful executive policy committee -- questions which have left the two councillors puzzled as to what Katz is trying to do.

When Katz introduced the new members of EPC this morning, he welcomed back Justin Swandel, describing him as the only councillor who resigned from EPC "on his own initiative." Swandel quit EPC a year ago, claiming it was broken.

Fielding and Vandal quit within days of each other at the end of October: Fielding on the 25th, unhappy with the unfolding scandals at city hall and a looming property tax increase for 2014 he said he couldn’t support; Vandal gave his notice on the 27th, saying he wants to concentrate on ward issues as he prepares a bid to run for the Liberals in the next federal election.

Katz initially refused to explain what he meant by his comments.

But late this afternoon, Katz said he only meant that Vandal and Fielding have other political plans, whereas Swandel remained a councillor, with no other ambitions.

"I can’t explain what the mayor meant by his statement," Vandal said. "There is absolutely no other reasons at all as to why I left EPC… I want to spend more time on community issues."

Fielding said he couldn’t explain Katz’s comments either, adding he put out a news release on Oct. 25, stating why he was unhappy with EPC and why he was leaving. Fielding denied that Katz pushed him out because of their differences.

Katz’s comments this morning also contradict the statements he gave when Fielding and Vandal quit EPC: Katz congratulated Vandal for the way he resigned.

"Dan was very upfront and I’m very impressed with," Vandal’s reasons for leaving, Katz said Oct. 28. "He was going to voluntarily step down," from EPC.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 1:59 PM CST: Tweaks headline.

5:00 PM: Adds comment from Katz.

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