Mayor shuffles leadership roles early to prepare for response to COVID-19

By | June 12, 2020

WINNIPEG — Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman has shuffled leadership roles among city council, including appointing a new deputy mayor.

On Friday afternoon, Bowman announced the changes, which he said in a news release will better position and respond to global challenges facing the community.

The shuffle will take effect on June 27.

Normally changes in committee appointments happen in November, but Bowman said he didn’t want to wait as the city responds to the pandemic.

“This is something I’ve been contemplating over the last number of months,” Bowman said. “Increasingly as we deal with the global pandemic, I’ve been realizing – and I know others have as well – that the new normal is going to look quite different from how city services were provided before the pandemic.”

Bowman said moving forward the committees will be making ‘strategic decisions’ to work within the multi-year balanced budgets while responding to the effects of COVID-19.

Bowman appointed to Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) as the new Deputy Mayor, a role previously held by Coun. Markus Chambers (St. Norbert – Seine River).

Orlikow will also be overseeing council objectives for responding to the effects of COVID-19, supporting the goals of the Human Rights Committee of Council, as well as promoting and improving the city’s Million Tree Challenge.

“I am very pleased to welcome Councillor Orlikow to the role of deputy mayor. He is one of the longest-serving councillors here and he is extremely well-positioned to provide strong leadership and public service to the role of deputy mayor.”

Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) will continue in the role of Acting Deputy Mayor.

Bowman said, subject to council ratification, Chambers will be filling the role as chair of the Winnipeg Police Board, after Klein announced Thursday he would be stepping down.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Police Board chair resigns

Bowman said Klein’s decision to resign did not have an impact on the decisions to shuffle council.

He said he wants Chambers – who has been serving the last year as vice-chair of the police board – to now be focused on the Police Board as chair.

“During these challenging times, I appreciate that Councillor Chambers is prepared to provide needed leadership in the position of chair,” said Bowman. “I think there is an opportunity with renewed leadership there to make the Police Board more effective.”

The mayor also announced he would be including a mandate to Chambers to provide formal written submissions to Manitoba’s Justice Minister Cliff Cullen on behalf of the Winnipeg Police Board that considers changes to the Police Services Act.

Bowman would not elaborate on what specifically he would like to see changed in the Police Services Act, saying he will leave that up to the board.

Other changes in council committee positions include:

  • Councillor Matt Allard (St. Boniface): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works.
  • Councillor Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation and Economic Development.
  • Councillor Scott Gillingham (St. James): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance.
  • Councillor Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage, and Downtown Development.
  • Councillor Brian Mayes (St. Vital): Chair of the Standing Committee on Water and Waste, Riverbank Management and the Environment.
  • Councillor Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry): Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks.

Gillingham will also take on the role of Council Liasion for Veteran and Military Affairs, and Mayes will take on the role of Council Liasion for School Board and Youth Opportunities.

“What I’m looking to do is to position the City of Winnipeg, our operations and our supports to the community through the lens of preparing for resiliency and the new norm,” Bowman said.

“I didn’t want to wait to November to refresh these mandates, because quite frankly, the community needs us to focusing on what the recovery looks like now and over the summer.”

Bowman said further changes may be coming in November as well.

The city said mandate letters will be issued and publicly released next week.               

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