One Winnipeg city councillor stepped down from a top committee on Friday, citing concerns over mismanagement of tax dollars.
Coun. Scott Fielding has sat on the city’s executive policy committee for the past five years but said on Friday he had too many concerns about the way the city was being managed to continue.
“I decided after going home and having a good sleep on it, playing hockey last night, that I was going to step away from the executive policy committee,” said Fielding.
Fielding said budget discussions about a property tax hike above the one per cent already planned for the upcoming year were too much for him to stomach, “specifically in this environment where you are seeing mismanagement in everything that’s been going on, fire halls, police stations and that sort.”
His resignation comes just days after a damning fire hall audit report was released, showing a massive real estate deal was severely mismanaged. The report laid much of the blame at the feet of former city chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl. Sheegl resigned last week.
"I cannot take the easy way out and ask taxpayers to bail us out of this mess," said Fielding in a release.
He said he will now focus on the needs of his ward.
Mayor Sam Katz shrugged off the resignation on Friday and suggested to reporters it was Fielding’s own ambition to run for mayor that was behind the move.
He also said he doesn’t think it will be hard to find a replacement for Fielding.
“It’s not a matter of finding people who agree or disagree. It’s a matter of finding people – what’s best for the City of Winnipeg,” said Katz.
Coun. Harvey Smith said agree or disagree with the mayor, other councillors may soon want to distance themselves from him.
“[The resignation is] saying that things are so bad that people want to distance themselves from the mayor, and I think others might as well. I think Vandal might resign, eh?” said Smith, referring to fellow Coun. Dan Vandal, who as expressed his intent to run federally in the next election.
Vandal will be seeking nomination for the Liberals in the St. Boniface area, taking on Tory MP Shelly Glover.
As for Fielding, he said he hasn’t decided if he’ll run for the city’s top job next year.