Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Katz, Wyatt open to salary cuts

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Mayor Sam Katz

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Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz say they're open to the idea of members of council taking salary cuts as part of the proposed "Wyatt Weekends."

At the behest of Wyatt, the city is exploring a proposed cost-saving measure that would see city employees take unpaid Fridays off from July to September. Wyatt believes the move, modelled after the provincial Filmon Fridays in the 1990s, could save the city $14 million to $15 million a year.

During question period at city council on Wednesday, Katz declined to say whether he supports the idea, deferring comment until city staff scrutinize the proposal.

Both the mayor and Wyatt, however, said they would consider the idea of extending unpaid leave to members of council. Councillors each earned between $66,200 and $83,900 in 2011, while the mayor earned $125,900 that year. Their 2012 salaries must be posted by July 1.

Wyatt initially proposed the unpaid days off this spring as part of a radical series of cuts he floated in the wake of the provincial budget.

Last week, he brought the idea to council's finance committee, which instructed city staff to investigate whether savings would be generated by having unpaid Fridays for non-emergency and non-essential staff, "limiting any impact on city services."

Under questioning from Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck, Wyatt said he was not aware the city already had a furlough program.

 

If the city adopts Wyatt Weekends, what advice would you give on which services are non-essential? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 27, 2013 B2

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Updated on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 6:40 AM CDT: adds photo, adds question for discussion

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