Mayor says it's time to review Winnipeg's governance model — after the next election

Mayor says it's time to review Winnipeg's governance model — after the next election

Winnipeg's mayor says the city ought to a conduct a review of the way it's governed — but not for a couple of years.

City council's executive policy committee voted Wednesday to consider the idea of a wide review of city governance when the time comes to put together the 2018 budget.

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt proposed a more immediate review with an eye to reducing the mayor's power.​ But that motion was referred to the budget process for next year, which effectively means no change is possible until after the next election takes place in October of 2018.

"It is time for council to consider a review," Bowman told reporters.

The last city governance review, ordered by former mayor Susan Thompson in the 1990s, resulted in the dissolution of the board of commissioners, a group of unelected public servants whose power rivalled that of city council. It also extended council terms from three to four years.

Bowman said he consulted George Cuff, the author of that report, and former council speaker Jae Eadie before reaching his conclusion. He said the review must be external.

At executive policy committee, Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) criticized Bowman for failing to take more immediate action to fix what she described as a dysfunctional governance model.

"Strong governance takes time and work. It's easy to punt it out to the future and not dealing with it today, for purely political reasons," Lukes said. "The model hasn't been reviewed in 20 years."

Bowman accused Lukes of "politicizing the discussion."