Manitoba

New City of Winnipeg CAO says up-close view of past mistakes will prevent future errors

City council voted Thursday to approve the appointment of Michael Jack as Winnipeg's new chief administrative officer. Jack, a 21-year civil servant, says the mistakes he's seen made under previous municipal administrations will help him prevent future pitfalls.

City council approves appointment of Michael Jack as head of civil service

City council approved the appointment of Michael Jack as Winnipeg's new chief administrative officer Thursday. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

The new head of Winnipeg's public service is a 21-year civil servant who says the mistakes he's seen made under previous municipal administrations will help him prevent future pitfalls.

City council voted Thursday to approve the appointment of Michael Jack as Winnipeg's new chief administrative officer.

The city had been without a permanent CAO since Doug McNeil resigned in March 2019.

The effort to find a new top administrator was placed on hold twice in the ensuing two-and-a-half years — once because of the pandemic and then again because an initial shortlist did not include enough diverse candidates.

Jack has worked for the city for two decades, serving as city solicitor, chief corporate services officer and deputy chief administrative officer.

He was a senior city official when the Sam Katz administration approved two construction projects that later embroiled the city in scandal — the fire-paramedic station replacement program and the construction of the new Winnipeg Police Service headquarters.

'Oversimplification' to suggest city, province have bad relationship, says new Winnipeg CAO

6 months ago
Duration 0:53
New Winnipeg chief administrative officer Michael Jack said the working relationship between the city and the province is a good one, despite media coverage of political interactions. 0:53

Jack said Thursday his experience will serve him well as a watchdog in the future.

"We have learned a multitude of lessons," he said Thursday after council voted 14-2 in favour of his appointment.

"You're getting someone who has the benefit of having seen all of that and knows the benefit of avoiding those pitfalls."

Couns. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) and Shawn Nason (Transcona) voted against his appointment.

Klein told council Winnipeg missed an opportunity to bring in a CAO with no history with the public service.

"From a business perspective, we've missed an opportunity to bring about change," Klein said.

Jack said he hopes to prove Klein wrong and bring about positive change.

Jack replaces Mike Ruta, who acted as chief administrative officer after McNeil's departure. Ruta, who previously served as chief financial officer for more than a decade, is going to retire.

Mayor Brian Bowman thanked Ruta for leading Winnipeg through the October 2019 snowstorm that brought thousands of trees down on streets, cars, homes and power lines.

New Winnipeg CAO Michael Jack on working for city during police HQ, firehall projects

6 months ago
Duration 1:13
Longtime civil servant Michael Jack has been appointed as the City of Winnipeg's new chief administrative officer. Jack has worked for the city for more than 20 years, including during the years when there were controversial land deals. On Thursday, he said he learned through that experience and believes the city has improved its transparency since that time. 1:13

Comments

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 Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now