Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rift at city hall over hiring of new CAO: source

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The city's search for a new chief administrative officer is on hold due to a split within the search committee, a source says.

The nine-member search committee announced last Thursday it was postponing the process until after the Oct. 22 civic election, citing "time constraints."

However, a source said recently the committee -- which consists of the mayor and eight councillors -- argued over whether to allow the next mayor and council to decide who should be the CAO.

Winnipeg has been without a permanent CAO since Phil Sheegl resigned Oct. 17, 2013, amid a flurry of controversies.

Chief operating officer Deepak Joshi was appointed acting CAO, on condition he not apply for the permanent position.

The committee's announcement last week came as a surprise because Katz told council the day before the committee was preparing a shortlist of candidates for the position.

Katz said Wednesday the committee met last week to come up with a shortlist of candidates from the more than 80 individuals who had applied for the position.

"At that (Thursday) meeting, the committee decided to wait until after the election," Katz said Wednesday. "It was a committee decision."

While Katz would not elaborate on the nature of the time constraints, he denied there was a block of councillors who did not want him to have a say in the hiring.

"I don't know why anyone would say that, but everyone comes up with their own conclusions," Katz said.

The committee consists of Katz and his executive policy committee -- Justin Swandel, Russ Wyatt, Jeff Browaty, Brian Mayes, Mike Pagtakhan and Grant Nordman -- and Couns. Ross Eadie and Jenny Gerbasi, who were chosen by the non-EPC members of council.

Katz said there was concern at the Thursday meeting many of the 80 applicants would not be available after the civic election, but he added the consultant hired to assist the committee assured them all but one of the applicants would still be interested in the job.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 8, 2014 B2

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