Klein plans to overhaul civic budget process if he becomes mayor

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Kevin Klein wants to rework city hall’s budget process if elected mayor in October.

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Kevin Klein wants to rework city hall’s budget process if elected mayor in October.

The Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor made the policy announcement Tuesday, his first since launching his campaign Aug. 3.

He took aim at the executive policy committee model of city hall governance and the current budget working group. The committee is made up of the mayor and six councillors who chair executive committees.

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“We cannot have nearly 50 per cent of elected officials not at the table and not sharing your concerns, representing you. We will not allow that anymore,” said mayoral candidate Kevin Klein.

Klein is among critics who contend it creates an inner circle for Mayor Brian Bowman and his allies, unfairly shutting out the other elected officials on the 16-person council.

“We will immediately appoint all members of council to the budget working group. We will direct the public service to provide all necessary budget information to all members of council and to respond to questions from councillors with respect to the formulation of the budget, expenses that have increased or decreased, to respond to councillors within 72 hours,” Klein said.

“We cannot have nearly 50 per cent of elected officials not at the table and not sharing your concerns, representing you. We will not allow that anymore.”

The budget working group last year was made up of the executive policy committee and Bowman’s deputy mayor and acting deputy mayor, accounting for a 9-7 majority on council.

The seven councillors not in the group — Klein, Vivian Santos, Janice Lukes, Ross Eadie, Devi Sharma, Shawn Nason and Jason Schreyer — signed a motion criticizing the fact they weren’t in on early discussions, along with a list of items they wanted to add to the budget. That motion was voted down by the rest of council last December when it passed the 2022 budget.

Klein argues the model means Winnipeg wardsrepresented by councillors not in the group don’t get as much of a voice at council.

“Think about what your area may have missed out on over the years of this undemocratic process at city hall,” he said, speaking to voters via a livestream.

Klein joined the crowded, six-month race about halfway through — 14 others are now vying for the mayor’s job.

“I think this was the right time to enter the race because our waiting wasn’t indecision, it was speaking with the right stakeholders and making sure any deliverables we put forward, any promises… can and will be achieved,” he said.

Klein has also begun to position himself as a law-and-order, public safety-focused candidate.

On Sunday, he released a campaign video saying the Winnipeg police helicopter — mayoral candidate Glen Murray wants to ground it in favour of drones — a necessity.

Klein was first elected to council in 2018. The other registered mayoral candidates are Murray, Scott Gillingham, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Jennifer Motkaluk, Don Woodstock, Rick Shone, Shaun Loney, Rana Bokhari, Desmond Thomas, Idris Ademuyiwa Adelakun, Christopher Clacio, Jessica Peebles and Govind Thawani.

Winnipeggers go to the polls Oct. 26.

erik.pindera@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @erik_pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera
Reporter

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

History

Updated on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 8:43 AM CDT: Corrects date of election

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