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Bowman appoints EPC members at city council inaugural meeting

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/11/2014 (1867 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A nervous and emotional Brian Bowman pledged to co-operate with councillors and chose two rookies, two fellow conservatives and several centrists to serve in his first cabinet Wednesday night.

At a brief swearing-in ceremony, Bowman noted the strong mandate he received in last month’s civic election and asked that partisan loyalties and personalities be set aside for the good of Winnipeg.

Mayor Brian Bowman presides over his first meeting of city council Tuesday night.


Mayor Brian Bowman presides over his first meeting of city council Tuesday night.

"We are going to have a much more inclusive council than we’ve ever seen before," he said.

He appointed conservative councillors Marty Morantz and Jeff Browaty to his executive policy committee to handle the finance and community services portfolios, respectively. Joining them is Coun. Brian Mayes, a New Democrat who will chair the downtown committee even though he represents a suburban ward. Centrists Mike Pagtakhan and John Orlikow, both returning councillors, also won seats on EPC, along with newbie Coun. Janice Lukes, a centrist who takes on the demanding public works portfolio.

Left out of cabinet was Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, despite speculation Bowman would choose to bring the veteran left-leaning councillor onside early.

Gerbasi was also part of a vote for council speaker that broke down clearly along party lines, with several left-leaning councillors such as Ross Eadie and Jason Schreyer voting for Gerbasi while others, including Bowman, voted for Coun. Devi Sharma.

Sharma, who served as the stern speaker in the previous council, won the vote easily. Gerbasi was then elected deputy speaker.

Gerbasi said she wasn’t disappointed not to be named to Bowman’s cabinet and said she is hopeful non-EPC councillors will still have plenty of clout.

"The last 10 years have been very difficult and I like the tone the new mayor is setting," she said. "I feel very optimistic."

On his first day at city hall, Bowman learned it’s tough to make change happen quickly at 510 Main St.

The former privacy lawyer was prevented by legislation from fulfilling a campaign promises to allow council to decide who sits on its powerful executive policy committee.

Bowman said city clerks informed him he must make the appointments to observe the letter of existing legislation governing city hall.

"The intent with the promise was to make sure there was greater input from council and a more collaborative council after EPC is selected," Bowman said outside his new office earlier in the day.

"The most important thing for me is I’m following the rules. I don’t want to start my term by having questions about whether or not I followed the rules," Bowman said.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Bowman said there are many views on council as to how best to proceed, and he plans to take the discussion to council’s governance committee. He said he is not stepping back from his campaign pledge.

Bowman said he has already spoken to the province about changing the city charter to allow council as a whole to appoint EPC members.

He arrived at city hall Tuesday with a few personal effects, including a stick used by Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele. His first public address as mayor on the floor of council was a halting one. Bowman appeared uncharacteristically nervous, and choked up when speaking of his Metis heritage and honouring city hall’s location of Treaty One territory.

Also Wednesday, Bowman announced key staff in his office. His chief of staff will be Jason Fuith, Bowman’s longtime friend and campaign manager. Jana Thorsteinson, will leave her job at Red River College’s alumni office to become Bowman’s director of community engagement. And Kelly McCrae, the campaign’s operations director, becomes Bowman’s policy and communications officer.


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Updated on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 8:42 PM CST: Updates with EPC members

9:57 PM: Write-thru

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