Bowman wants to remove overtime from police pensions
Police union says mayor doesn't have the power to do so
Incumbent mayoral candidate Brian Bowman used a campaign stop to extol the benefits of removing overtime from police pension calculations — but the police union says the city doesn't have the power to do so.
Bowman said Wednesday he supports the idea of no longer factoring overtime into pensionable police wages.
The move could save the city $1.5 million a year, Bowman said.
"No other civic pension agreement includes overtime in pensionable earnings calculations. And if reallocated, could allow between 10 to 15 additional frontline officers to be added to the Winnipeg Police Service," the incumbent mayor said.
The mayor stopped short of pledging to make this happen, stating only his support for the idea.
City council has the power to make this change without changing the city's collective bargaining agreement with the Winnipeg Police Association, he said.
The city has tried to change the police pension regime before, with minimal success.
In 2016, Winnipeg chief financial officer Mike Ruta wrote to members of city council he intended to contact the police union "to present options in respect of more affordable and sustainable changes to the plan".
The Winnipeg Police Pension Bylaw laid out some of the city's options at the city's disposal. It can amend the plan, merge it with another plan, divide it or even terminate it, as long as it does not reduce the benefits owing to any existing members of the plan.
The bylaw also states the city can make these changes retroactively.
Moe Sabourin of the Winnipeg Police Association, which has been highly critical of Bowman, said Bowman can not instruct the city to make the changes.
"This is just another campaign promise that he won't be able to follow through on because he is either grossly misinformed or he's misleading the public on the basis that they can unilaterally change the pension plan," Sabourin said.
"This is a joint plan between employee and employer. We both pay into the plan and it is a negotiated item. It is tied to the collective bargaining agreement and I'm not really sure how he's thinking he can change the plan unilaterally."
Mayoral challenger Jenny Motkaluk also criticized Bowman's musing.
"Breaking contracts is not a good way to harmonize relations and work collaboratively with our civil service. And even if he did find a way to add 10 front-line officers, it would still be a drop in the bucket," Motkaluk communications director Dave MacKay said in a statement.
Bowman also pledged to devote $100,000 a year from his discretionary office budget to a new crime-prevention fund.
- With files from Susan Magas
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?