Coun. Harvey Smith took out an ad in local newspapers identifying politicians he holds responsible for "the Mess" at city hall.
The ad appears in today’s Free Press, page A4, and in the Winnipeg Sun, identifying Mayor Sam Katz and other councillors who sat on his executive policy committee for hiring former CAO Phil Sheegl.
"These Councillors & the Mayor Created the Mess" is the headline in the ad.
Smith (McIntyre) said "the Mess" he is referring to is the fire hall replacement program, the dismissal of the fire chief, cost over-runs at the new police headquarters building and other allegations involving controversial dealings with local developers.
"The only reason (Sheegl) was hired is because he is the mayor’s buddy," Smith said. "He didn’t have any qualifications for the job."
Smith said Katz and EPC promoted Sheegl as the city’s director of planning and then supported his appointment as CAO.
The rest of council was kept in the dark about Sheegl’s lack of expertise for the posts, Smith said.
"The members of EPC have a responsibility to think for themselves and act for the greater good of the city," Smith said. "They can’t hide behind the claim that they went along with the mayor."
Smith said he’s worried that former councillor and EPC member Gord Steeves, who declared Tuesday he’s running for mayor, will not be held accountable for his involvement in hiring Sheegl.
Smith said two other former EPC members, councillors Paula Havixbeck and Scott Fielding, are contemplating also running for mayor, adding he wants them to be held accountable for their roles as well.
Smith said the ads will run for three days in both papers, and will also appear in The Metro.
Smith said the total cost will be about $4,000, money taken from his ward allowance.
Smith admitted he might be criticized for using taxpayers’ dollars for the ads, but said it’s money well spent.
"It’s better to spend the money to let the public know what these people did rather than spend it on fancy Christmas cards to my constituents or put my picture on a bus bench, like other councillors do," Smith said.