Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Who needs process?

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Several controversies and the odour of scandal have erupted at city hall in recent years because of flawed processes and impatience with the details that ensure public policy is conducted in a thorough and transparent manner.

City council is poised to make those mistakes again today when it votes to increase the ward communication allowances of councillors to $114,000 from $74,000. Council seems prepared to ram through this cash grab without the slightest nod to public decency. The increase was announced a few weeks ago without public debate or the slightest bit of data showing why it might be justified.

At the same time, council today will probably vote to ease the financial hit on museums, which were facing a 10 per cent cut in civic funding, but now will suffer only a five per cent reduction. Scores of other groups were unaffected by the budget because of legal agreements or community partnerships, while others will still suffer a 10 per cent cut, but there is no obvious process or criteria to determine why some groups benefit more than others, or not at all, and by how much.

The city clearly needs a better process for allotting community grants.

The absence of process and transparency, however, is most blatant in the 50 per cent increase in private allowances that councillors are preparing to approve without the slightest whiff of shame.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 29, 2013 A6

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