Mayor Brian Bowman's salary, other cutbacks OK'd by EPC
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman's proposal to reduce his salary as well as top-ups for various committee positions has been given unanimous support.
The executive policy committee, also know as the mayor's cabinet, approved the motion at a meeting on Wednesday.
In addition to scaling back the mayor's pay, the motion calls for an end to top-ups for committee chairpersons, the Speaker and deputy speaker.
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Coun. Marty Morantz, one of six councillors who make up the EPC, said salary reductions are a symbol to the rest of city in a time when budget tightening is coming.
The EPC also voted in favour of cutting the number of deductions councillors can take for certain expenses, such as sports tickets and home internet service.
Other motions put forth by Bowman and supported by the EPC include working on a long-term strategy to end homelessness in Winnipeg and making surface parking lots safer downtown.
The motions must still go to city council next week for a final discussion and vote.
The EPC also discussed but did not vote on a motion calling for severance payments to be dropped for municipal politicians who lose an election or don't seek another term.
That one was simply forwarded to council for further debate.
EPC member Coun. Brian Mayes, who is also on EPC, says he is not in favour of the severance cut as it is written but would like to see changes to the payout.
"Is this why I ran for council, to get severance? God no. I ran to work for the people of St. Vital," he said. "I don't mind reducing it, making it a lot less for people who leave voluntarily. But I do think it needs some more thought."
"I'd probably reduce it (severance) to 10 weeks and maybe less if you leave voluntarily, but I think there is something to be said for giving people a transition period."
All the motions are among the promises Bowman made for his first 100 days in office.
However, some won't happen within that time frame as they will have to wait for city staff to produce reports within 180 days.
Another is to incorporate more indigenous art in new capital projects.
Bowman wants city officials to prepare a report within six months on the feasibility of integrating aboriginal art and cultural themes into all future city-financed capital projects.
While the idea is still in its early stages, it excites people in Winnipeg's indigenous arts scene like Daina Warren, director of the Urban Shaman Gallery.
"It would be really great to see artists working even with the developers on starting the projects and, like, how they can integrate really great ideas," she told CBC News.
Warren said she has already written to Bowman, hoping to set up a meeting to discuss ways to make his proposal a reality.
She said she also wants to convince the mayor to support other arts initiatives in the city.
"I'm just really hoping that he would be able to see the amazing projects and activities that we're doing and instead of reinventing the wheel, being able to help develop those into really great, maybe more accessible projects as well," she said.