Letter calling for removal from police board shouldn't have gone public right away, Browaty says

The former chair of the Winnipeg police board says he’s surprised and disappointed with the way Mayor Brian Bowman handled the board’s request for his removal last week.

North Kildonan councillor resigned as chair of police board last week following comments in December

Coun. Jeff Browaty says he felt like he had no choice but to resign from his position as chair of the police board after a letter from the board requesting his removal went public last week. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The former chair of the Winnipeg police board says he's surprised and disappointed with the way Mayor Brian Bowman handled the board's request for his removal last week.

Coun. Jeff Browaty was out of town when the board's recommendation to remove him was made public last week, in the form of a letter addressed to Bowman.

On Wednesday, Browaty said he felt like he "didn't have an option" except to resign after the letter was released on Feb. 7.

"I was disappointed that the mayor's office felt that that statement had to be released publicly immediately," Browaty said.

"I felt he had an opportunity to receive the recommendation, speak to me and consider it, but again, the mayor's instructions to the police board was to release it publicly."

Browaty says the letter would likely have gone public eventually, but he thought that should have happened after he had a chance to speak to Bowman face-to-face.

Bowman told reporters Wednesday the decision to make the letter public ultimately fell to the board itself, but he requested the board be transparent about concerns surrounding Browaty after members met with him privately in December.

"I asked them, if they were speaking for the board, that the board should speak and should raise their concerns in public, and be publicly accountable for their requests to me," Bowman said.

Comments prompted call for removal

The request followed comments Browaty made on the floor of city council in December, criticizing the cost of the city's plan to mandate a half-day training session on the legacy of residential schools for all city employees.

The sessions were announced last year as part of the city's efforts to implement the 94 recommendations of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Browaty made the comments on Dec. 14, but quickly recanted and apologized later that day.

The police board requested Browaty's removal after a recommendation from the Indigenous Council on Policing and Crime Prevention, which advises the board.

Last week, Bowman said he will now turn his attention to finding Browaty's replacement on the board.

With files from Sean Kavanagh