Key player in Winnipeg's public service retires after 3 decades with city

Key player in Winnipeg's public service retires after 3 decades with city

One of the key players in the upper echelons of Winnipeg's public service left the city last week, on the same day his retirement was announced.

John Zabudney, who managed the city's real estate division, left the public service on April 7, said John Kiernan, the city's director of planning, property and development.

Zabudney was a city employee for 30 years, starting as a land surveyor. From 2011 until last week, he was responsible for overseeing all real estate transactions, including property sales, purchases, leases and appraisals.

He also served as real estate manager during a contentious time for his division. In 2013, city council ordered up an audit of major real-estate transactions, including several that took place when he was the real-estate manager.

"The real-estate portfolio can be very volatile," Zabudney said Thursday in an interview. 

"I've been through a lot and I always stood my ground and been true. My director would be the first one to say I'm the most loyal city employee there is. I'm looking forward to my next steps in my life."

A quiet person in public at city hall, Zabudney played a crucial role behind the scenes.

In 2012, he questioned a three-for-one land swap that would have transferred two former city fire-paramedic stations and a vacant city riverfront property to Shindico Realty, in exchange for the site of the new fire-paramedic Station No. 12 on Taylor Avenue.