Mayor Katz shrugs off 2 councillors quitting inner circle
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is losing another member of his inner circle.
Coun. Dan Vandal is resigning from the executive policy committee, saying his last EPC meeting will be on Wednesday. He will, however, remain as councillor until his term is over next year.
- Winnipeg councillor Dan Vandal sets sights on becoming MP
- Coun. Scott Fielding steps down from EPC over mismanagement
"I had a chat with the mayor yesterday and I said that I would like to leave EPC," Vandal told reporters on Monday.
Unlike Coun. Scott Fielding, who quit EPC on Friday saying he couldn't support more property tax increases, Vandal isn't leaving in protest.
He also insists his leaving has nothing to do with the scathing audit report, released last week, on the fire hall land swap deal.
"I am not pleased [with] the way some files have been managed by EPC, but that's not the main reason why I'm leaving," he said.
"I think it's at this time in my municipal career, I wanna go the spend the last year going out there in my constituency and doing good constituency work."
Vandal announced earlier this month that he intends to take a shot at federal politics. Vandal wants to win the Liberal nomination in St. Boniface and put his name on the 2015 ballot.
"I think the time is right now [to leave EPC] because I've already sent my notice for my intention to leave city hall," he said.
Vandal was a councillor from 1995 to 2004 when he took an unsuccessful shot at becoming Winnipeg's mayor. He was re-elected in St. Boniface in 2006 when he defeated incumbent Franco Magnifico.
Katz said he's not concerned about the EPC resignations.
"People are doing things for their own future careers and I think, 'Good on them.' I certainly have no problem with that," he said.
"As far as Coun. Dan Vandal is concerned, I wish him all the best."
Katz said he's already planning to replace both of them on EPC very soon.
Who will replace them?
There are currently four councillors remaining on EPC, and none has indicated any intent on leaving — although at least one member, Coun. Mike Pagtakhan, says he's considered it given everything that has gone on at city hall lately.
"I think all councillors on EPC — probably the thought has crossed their minds, in terms of what they're going to be doing," he said.
"You know, the thought has certainly crossed my mind."
However, Pagtakhan said he is committed to staying on EPC to help deal with the issues the city faces.
Katz said it'll be easy to replace the outgoing committee members, as he believes there are "many people who want to be part of EPC and make a positive contribution to the city."
But the list of interested candidates doesn't appear to be that long: councillors Ross Eadie and Harvey Smith both called on Katz to resign last week, while councillors Paula Havixbeck and John Orlikow have openly criticized the mayor over the fire hall land swap and other issues.
That leaves among the remaining contenders Jenny Gerbasi, Devi Sharma, Justin Swandel and Thomas Steen.