Browaty returns to executive policy committee, Orlikow out as Mayor Bowman shuffles inner circle

Mayor Brian Bowman has shuffled up his inner circle in a rare mid-year shakeup at city hall.

Markus Chambers becomes new chair of Winnipeg Police Board

Coun. Jeff Browaty is returning to EPC after a four-year absence. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Mayor Brian Bowman has shuffled his inner circle in a rare mid-year shakeup at Winnipeg city hall.

Bowman announced Friday that River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow is leaving city council's executive policy committee. The Liberal-affiliated Orlikow is being replaced by Conservative-affiliated North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty, who returns to EPC for the first time since 2016.

Bowman punted Browaty from EPC in 2016 when the two had differences over reopening Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic. That sticking point has disappeared after council honoured a 2018 plebiscite to keep the intersection closed to people.

Browaty said his relationship with Bowman is fine.

"There are a couple of things on the side where we didn't agree. Some of them were a little bit significant from his campaign platform," he said, referring to Portage and Main. "Regardless, I'd say we agree 98 per cent of the time."

Browaty will become chair of city council's innovation committee, replacing Orlikow, who will assume the role of deputy mayor.

Coun. Markus Chambers is slated to be the new chair of the Winnipeg Police Board. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Rookie St. Norbert-Seine River Coun. Markus Chambers, who was deputy mayor, will become the new chair of the Winnipeg Police Board, pending a council ratification.

"Now is the time for leadership," Chambers said earlier Friday, when he was asked about the pending appointment. 

"We have to make sure the voice of the community is heard as we go forward, in light of what we've been seeing in the United States over the last three weeks or so."

Chambers, who was vice-chair of the police board, replaces Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood Coun. Kevin Klein, who resigned from the board on Thursday. 

Klein, who has squabbled with Bowman over the last two years, complained the police board lacked independence.

"It's difficult times, you know, not just outside city hall. It's difficult inside. The division and erosion are starting to show," Klein said at city hall on Friday.

He said Bowman's changes effectively give the mayor control of 10 seats on the 16-seat council, up from nine when Browaty remained part of council's unofficial opposition.

Bowman also made another switch, handing Daniel McIntyre Coun. Cindy Gilroy the responsibility for council's property committee. She takes over as property chair from St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes, who returns to his old role as water and waste chair.

Winnipeg mayors usually shuffle up EPC in late October or early November, prior to council's annual organization meeting.

Bowman said he made changes mid-year because of the pandemic.

"The new norm is going to look quite different than how city services were provided before the pandemic, so I didn't want to wait until November to renew the mandate letters for each of the chairs," he said during a Zoom call with reporters Friday.

Bowman declined to elaborate on the contents of those letters, except for direction he will give Chambers.

Bowman said he'd like the police board make a formal submission to the province about changes to the Police Services Act, which is under review.


Bartley Kives

Senior reporter, CBC Manitoba

Bartley Kives joined CBC Manitoba in 2016. Prior to that, he spent three years at the Winnipeg Sun and 18 at the Winnipeg Free Press, writing about politics, music, food and outdoor recreation. He's the author of the Canadian bestseller A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada's Undiscovered Province and co-author of both Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg and Stuck In The Middle 2: Defining Views of Manitoba.


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