Winnipeg city union calls for whistleblower protection laws
City of Winnipeg employees need whistleblower protection measures, says the union representing the city's professional staff and middle managers.
The Winnipeg Association of Public Service Officers (WAPSO) is calling on Mayor Sam Katz and council to pass whistleblower protection laws similar to those that apply to Manitoba government employees.
In a letter sent to Katz and councillors earlier this month, WAPSO president Andrew Weremy says having such protection in place could save the city money and embarrassment.
Weremy said "recent events" suggest the city does not have an open environment in which employees feel they can raise concerns.
"A number of issues now being revealed have been of great concern to our members. Our members know when decisions are not consistent with City policy and/or professional standards," his letter states in part.
"Currently there is no protection for employees who wish to speak out regarding actions that are not consistent with the interests of the City, violate policy or are inconsistent with professional ethics," the letter adds.
"Having such protections to raise concerns does not guarantee success, however, it does increase the chance to identify issues earlier and possibly save the taxpayer significant amounts of dollars and embarrassment to the City."
Earlier this fall, Winnipeg city hall was rocked by financial controversies that included a scathing audit of a land swap involving fire halls.
The external audit report showed that the massive real estate deal involving real-estate developer Shindico was severely mismanaged.
Much of the blame was pointed at former city chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl, who resigned shortly before the audit report was released.
The city is also dealing with rising cost overruns for construction of the new Winnipeg Police Service headquarters.