City hall promoted an employee from its finance department to head the insect control branch.
A civic spokeswoman confirmed this afternoon that Ken Nawolsky is the new superintendent of the insect control branch — a position that was recently created after the unexpected departure of the unit’s former boss.
The insect control branch traditionally has been headed by individuals with a formal background as scientists and entomologists.
Nawolsky replaces city entomologist Taz Stuart, who left the city under mysterious circumstances in the fall, after he had been suspended.
The appointment has puzzled council veteran Harvey Smith, who said councillors on the civic committee that oversees the unit were not told of the hiring, and said they should have been informed.
Smith (McIntyre) said he questioned why an administrator was hired to replace a scientist.
"Mosquito control is a big issue in Winnipeg," he said. Councillors and the public were never told why Stuart left the city.
"People liked Taz and what he was doing," Smith said. "Replacing him with an administrator doesn’t look very good."
A civic spokesman said the position of city entomologist was replaced with superintendent following a review in the fall — after Stuart’s departure.
The spokesman said the city held an open competition for the new position and Nawolsky was considered the best candidate.
Nawolsky had been the corporate performance measurement coordinator in the city’s finance department.
Before that, however, he had spent several years in the insect control branch, holding various titles including: spokesman, operations manager and surveillance program coordinator.