COUNCIL UPDATE: SURPRISE! ETHICS MOTION PASSES

ETHICS MOTION PASSES AT COUNCIL In a surprising and unusual turn of events, the motion calling for the province to establish enhanced ethical oversight of City Hall passed today with a vote of 7 to 6. (For: Browaty, Fielding, Pagtakhan, Gerbasi, Vandal, Thomas, Smith. Against: Katz, Steeves, Swandel, Nordman, O'Shaughnessy, and Lazarenko. Councillor Wyatt and Clement were not at the meeting) Since his election in 2004, I don't believe the Mayor has lost a significant vote at Council. It is now in the hands of the Province of Manitoba to consider making changes which could alleviate growing public concern about ethical conduct at the municipal level. This is the wording of the resolution which will be sent to the Provincial Government: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that City Council call on the Province of Manitoba to review and amend existing legislation to create stronger Conflict of Interest rules and guidelines for the City of Winnipeg and council through such measures as the establishment of a separate municipal office for the Conflict of Interest Commissioner or by expanding the role and responsibilities of the existing Commissioner. ROADSIDE MEMORIAL DECISION TO BE RECONSIDERED There will be another chance for discussion and debate on the proposed bylaw that would have required the removal of roadside memorials within 90 days of the date of the fatality. Council heard reasonable and thoughtful suggestions from a citizen who spoke to council asking for reconsideration of the 90 restriction. A referral the the Protection and Community Services Committee creates an opportunity for public discussion and potential changes to the proposed by law to be made. The public meeting takes place on Monday, March 9th at 9:00 AM at City Hall. For more information you can contact the clerk of the committee at: marcpittet@winnipeg.ca MOTION ON REAL ESTATE AUDIT CALLED OUT OF ORDER A motion moved by Councillor Vandal (seconded by myself) which called for an audit of policy related to the sale and leasing of city owned Real Estate was ruled out of order by the speaker. The motion was in response to the inappropriate public listing for sale of the Winnipeg Square Parkade, a public asset worth 35 million dollars that has not been declared surplus. The speaker's ruling was challenged but the ruling was upheld by a vote of 9 to 4. As this issue continues to be of concern to many Winnipeggers including people from the commercial real estate industry itself another motion will likely be brought forward to address these ongoing concerns at a future council meeting. Thank you for your interest in Civic Issues! Cheers! Jenny Jenny Gerbasi Councillor Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry jgerbasi@winnipeg.ca