Manitoba

Mayor Bowman's council cost-cutting plan irks councillor

Some of Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman's promises to cut costs at city hall, in part by ending severances for politicians after they leave office, have one councillor so angry he vows never to speak to the mayor again.
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie says he takes issue with Mayor Brian Bowman calling severances for former council members a political payout. (CBC)

Some of Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman's promises to cut costs at city hall have one city councillor so angry he vows never to speak to the mayor again.

On Wednesday, the city's executive policy committee will consider a proposal by Bowman — based on one of his campaign promises — to end the practice of paying severance for any mayor or councillor who chooses not to seek re-election or loses in a civic election.

"On October 22nd, Winnipeggers were clear that they want to see political payouts end at City Hall," Bowman said in a news release Friday, when he announced his plan.

"I remain steadfast in my commitment that I will never collect a severance payout on the backs of Winnipeggers, and will continue to do all I can to end this practice at City Hall entirely."

But Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie says he takes issue with Bowman calling the severances a political payout.

"They're trying to put pressure on an number of us who are not going to vote to get rid of the severance, and I take issue with that kind of crap," Eadie said on Monday.

Eadie added that some former politicians face lean years before finding a new job.

"I'm not going back to some law firm," he said, referring to Bowman's background as a lawyer.

"It's been my experience after running elections, nobody wants to touch you."

Bowman is also proposing salary cuts for himself as well as for committee chairs, the Speaker and deputy speaker.

Eadie argued that the extra responsibilities of heading up a city committee are worth the extra pay.

"The premise is somehow we don't work hard? When you get promoted to a responsible position … you don't deserve to get a higher pay grade? That's wrong," he said.

"That's the way it works in business. I mean, you get promoted to VP or whatever; you get a pay raise, right?"

Bowman also wants to reduce the number of expenses that councillors can claim in their allowances.

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