Winnipeg city hall’s current longest-serving councillor is not going to seek re-election.
Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, who was first elected in 1998, posted a statement on social media Wednesday morning stating she will not run in the October civic election.
"I want to thank the residents of Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry for electing me. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as a member of Winnipeg City Council for these last 20 years," Gerbasi said.
"Being elected for five council terms, serving with three different mayors has been an incredible journey that I am grateful to have experienced."
Gerbasi's full statement can be found here.
Gerbasi’s decision follows her return from a sudden two-week leave of absence from city hall.
In addition to her council work, Gerbasi has been active on the national scene through her involvement with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the lobby group that advocates for municipalities across the country.
She is currently president of the FCM, a term which expires in June.
Gerbasi has sat on council with three different mayors. She was part of Glen Murray’s team when he became mayor in 1988, but she fell out of favour with Murray’s successor, Sam Katz, and was relegated mostly to the unofficial opposition role.
Gerbasi’s role on council took a positive turn with Brian Bowman’s election in 2014. They share many progressive ideas, including expanding rapid transit and re-opening Portage and Main to pedestrians.
Bowman took the unusual role of appointing Gerbasi deputy mayor in November 2016, even though he did not include her as part of his executive policy committee.
Gerbasi was re-appointed deputy mayor this past November and had been regularly attending closed-door meetings of EPC, where the administration would provide confidential briefings to Bowman and the chairman of council’s committees.
Just minutes before Gerbasi made her announcement not to seek re-election, Bowman told reporters he was glad to see that she had returned from her leave of absence.
"She continues, like all members of council, to make a meaningful contribution to city hall and to Winnipeg," Bowman said. "I’m glad to welcome her back."
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.