Mayor's cabinet 'broken,' says Swandel

Winnipeg city Coun. Justin Swandel says he can no longer stay on the mayor's cabinet, which he describes as broken, divided and dysfunctional.

St. Norbert councillor leaves executive policy committee

St. Norbert Coun. Justin Swandel says he hopes his departure from the executive policy committee will send Mayor Sam Katz a message that change is needed. (CBC)

Winnipeg city Coun. Justin Swandel says he can no longer stay on the mayor's cabinet, which he describes as broken, divided and dysfunctional.

Swandel, the councillor for St. Norbert, says he has asked to be removed from the executive policy committee (EPC), giving up his title as deputy mayor in the process.

Swandel told reporters on Thursday that other councillors on the committee are inexperienced, disloyal, self-serving, and lacking in leadership skills.

"I don't agree with … what some of those people have done. I don't believe in publicly trying to destroy people, to cause harm to people," he said.

"I look at this job as 'put the city before you put yourself,' and I think there's too many people that are serving self before they're serving city."

Pagtakhan appointed to EPC

Mayor Sam Katz replaced Swandel with Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan on the committee Thursday.

Katz said he wanted Swandel to remain on EPC, but he respects the councillor's decision to leave the committee.

"Coun. Swandel is the longest-standing member of EPC, and has made phenomenal contributions," Katz said.

"I very much appreciated him being here, and I wish he still were on EPC."

Swandel, who will remain on council, said he desperately needed to get out of EPC, and he hopes his departure will send a message to Katz that change is needed on the committee.

"Broken, divided. It's not good. People have to be a lot more patient; they can't be out there overreacting to things," he said.

"That's where it's at, and I think it's only going to get worse."

Other councillors on the move

Pagtakhan takes over as chair of downtown development, and the heritage and riverbank management committee from Swandel, while Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt takes over as deputy mayor.

In addition to becoming deputy mayor, Wyatt takes over as head of the finance committee from Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands).

Katz said choosing Wyatt as his deputy was an easy decision.

"He is probably one of the most senior members of council — someone who has a great deal of experience, someone who is prepared to speak their mind, and someone who can get the job done," he said.

Wyatt also inherits the alternate service delivery committee from Fielding, who will take over as chair of the protection and community services committee from Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck.

Havixbeck remains on EPC.

North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty and St. Boniface Coun. Dan Vandal retain their roles on the property and public works committees, respectively.

The changes on the executive policy committee will take effect Nov. 7.