July 17, 2019

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Money-saving measures loom

Majority support for city hall cuts remains to be seen

Mayor-elect Brian Bowman promised to reduce spending at city hall, but he needs councillors' support.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Mayor-elect Brian Bowman promised to reduce spending at city hall, but he needs councillors' support.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2014 (1722 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Most members of Winnipeg's new city council are keeping mum on how they'll vote on a series of motions incoming mayor Brian Bowman said he'll put forward to find savings at city hall.

Bowman vowed during the campaign he'd trim his salary and those of the deputy mayor, speaker and members of executive policy committee, along with eliminating some allowable expenses for councillors -- but he can only do that with the support of the majority of council.

But many members of the new council refuse to disclose how they'll vote, when recently polled by the Free Press.

"If (Bowman) wants to cut his own salary, that's up to him, but I don't understand how he can justify cuts to a process that was based on an outside consultant's recommendations," said Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas), one of the few councillors willing to state his opinion on Bowman's proposals.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2014 (1722 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Most members of Winnipeg's new city council are keeping mum on how they'll vote on a series of motions incoming mayor Brian Bowman said he'll put forward to find savings at city hall.

Bowman vowed during the campaign he'd trim his salary and those of the deputy mayor, speaker and members of executive policy committee, along with eliminating some allowable expenses for councillors — but he can only do that with the support of the majority of council.

But many members of the new council refuse to disclose how they'll vote, when recently polled by the Free Press.

"If (Bowman) wants to cut his own salary, that's up to him, but I don't understand how he can justify cuts to a process that was based on an outside consultant's recommendations," said Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas), one of the few councillors willing to state his opinion on Bowman's proposals.

Bowman has promised to make several moves at council's first two meetings:

At the Nov. 12 organizational meeting of council, Bowman said he will propose a 50 per cent reduction in salary top-ups for deputy mayor, speaker and members of executive policy committee; and the same dollar amount reduction for his own pay.

At the December meeting of council, Bowman said he would eliminate some of councillors' allowable expenses, including those for home cable and Internet, impose new landscaping and lighting standards for downtown parking lots, eliminate the office of policy development and communications and replace it with an office of public engagement.

Currently, the mayor earns $175,151.20, while Winnipeg city councillors earn a base salary of $87,859.28. Councillors who serve as speaker, deputy mayor, chairmen of standing committees or members of the executive policy committee earn an additional $23,228.13

Not all councillors were willing to share their views on the issues.

Coun. Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan), who was council speaker this past year, Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), a member of EPC, new Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Marty Morantz, and Scott Gillingham, new councillors for St. James-Brooklands, said they would not indicate their positions on the issues until they heard all of the arguments on the floor of council.

Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona), who has been deputy mayor and a member of EPC, said he wouldn't indicate his support on the issues until they are published in a council agenda.

Jason Schreyer, newly elected to Elmwood-East Kildonan, said he was too busy to consider the issues.

Cindy Gilroy, elected in Daniel McIntyre, indicated her support for only one of the issues and reserved her stance on the others until she's heard debate on the floor of council.

Pagtakhan said he didn't understand Bowman's desire to reduce the EPC top-ups, explaining council salaries and expenses were set following an independent review in 2011.

Pagtakhan said he'd consider another review of council salaries and expenses but would not support an arbitrary reduction.

Janice Lukes, the new councillor for St. Norbert, said she now only supports abolishing the office of policy development and communication and replacing it with the office of public engagement. Lukes said she needs more information before deciding on the other issues.

St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes said any changes to the councillor ward allowance should be population-based so wards with larger populations have larger budgets than smaller wards.

Mayes said he would only support a reduction in the EPC top-up if responsibilities of committee chairpersons were distributed among other councillors — which is not on Bowman's agenda.

Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) said he'd support reducing allowable expenses in councillor ward allowances only if the mayor's office budget makes the same reductions.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

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.

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