There are hard feelings after a shakeup to council’s appointments on the Winnipeg Police Board.
Mayor Brian Bowman said he would nominate newly elected Coun. Kevin Klein as the new chairman, replacing David Asper, who did not want to continue in the role.
But the acrimony stems from Coun. Ross Eadie’s removal from the board following a closed-door meeting of councillors Thursday. It took councillors two votes to select Coun. Markus Chambers as council’s second appointee to the board, replacing Eadie, who has been on it since November 2014.
“I’m upset that I’m not on the police board. I did want it,” Eadie (Mynarski) told reporters Friday.
Eadie said he believes Bowman wanted two new councillors to sit on the board and suggested Bowman is pleased with the change.
The mayor did not participate in the vote, which is an annual occurrence for councillors who decide among themselves which committees they get to sit on for the coming year.
Eadie said the first vote was tied 7-7, adding a second vote was taken, which was won by Chambers.
Eadie said there are also going to be changes to the civilian appointees to the police board, adding that will make it easier for Bowman to pressure the board to put a cap on the police service budget increase for 2019.
Eadie said the police service was told to cap its increase to 1.6 per cent, adding he fears that will result in layoffs of police officers because the WPS needs about 4.3 per cent simply to maintain existing service.
The board was established in 2013. It’s responsible for the administrative oversight of the police service. While council dictates the funding allocated to the force annually, the board works with the police executive to determine the service budget.
The appointments of Klein and Chambers to the board still have to be formally endorsed by council at its Nov. 14 meeting, when Bowman will also release a list of appointments to other boards and commissions.
Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo) and Chambers will also have to pass a police background security check before they can assume their duties on the board, which will hold its next meeting Dec. 7.
Bowman praised the work Asper had done chairing the board since his appointment in April 2017.
He replaced Coun. Jeff Browaty, who was forced to resign in the wake of a unanimous request from the board that he be removed. Browaty had questioned the need for civic staff to receive awareness training about the legacy of residential schools.
Bowman said he chose Klein because he had identified public safety as one of his major campaign commitments and because he had served on the police board in Cobourg, Ont.
Klein later clarified that he had been chairman of the community policing committee in Cobourg in the late 1990s for about two years.
Cobourg is a town of about 20,000 on the shore of Lake Ontario, about 95 kilometres east of Toronto.
Bowman also said that Klein, like him, is of Métis descent and he is the board’s first Indigenous chairman. Klein said his appointment reflects Bowman’s efforts for greater inclusion of members of the city’s Indigenous community.
“I think it is very important that it follows exactly what the City of Winnipeg, under the leadership of Mayor Bowman, is doing and that’s making sure we are an inclusive society and an inclusive city and inclusive in everything that we do,” Klein said.
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.