EDITORIALS, LOCAL NEWS

COUNCILLOR SMITH HIGH ON CRACK – Governance Committee “Out to Lunch”

Pick Your Poison

Please tell me it’s not just me.

Isn’t anyone else outraged by Councillor Harvey Smiths ridiculous expenditure of $1,600 of tax payer dollars to play immature mind games with his political adversaries?

Smith spent the money to erect seven (7) street signs in his ward to draw attention to the state of disrepair of seven of the worst back lanes in his ward.  The signs bear the names of the Mayor and various City Councillors he targeted in his ill-conceived media stunt.

“I couldn’t have bought all this attention.  Just because I think outside the box in a creative way, I shouldn’t be penalized for that,” Smith said.

Worse yet, City Councils governance committee voted 3-1 in favour of allowing Smith to use his ward allowance to cover to the cost of his “out of the box” thinking. The very ward allowance that saw a $40,000 hike this year “allegedly” designated to cover the costs of advertising and support staff who communicate with the public and media.

“Do I think it meets criteria personally? No. But I’m prepared to give you a mulligan on this one,” said the committee’s chair Councillor Grant Nordman, who advised Smith he should avoid similar expenses in the future.

The lone voice of reason came from Old Kildonan Councillor Devi Sharma who said,“Just because something garners media attention, that doesn’t make it right, I don’t agree that our ward allowance can be used in this manner.”

All told, the ward allowance hike amounted to a $600,000.00. increase to the overall City Budget.

Investigative reporting by Winnipeg Sun journalist Joyanne Pursaga indicates that six (6) of fifteen (15) City Councillors continue to use their ward allowances for charitable donations despite the fact City Auditor Brian Whiteside recommended discontinuing the practise as these funds are designated for office and constituency expenses.

Tax payers have every right to expect their tax dollars are being spent responsibly and not given to special interest, food banks or the arts.  I would appreciate it if my tax dollars were spent on infrastructure, emergency services and snow removal.  If City Councillors are truly motivated to make charitable donations then they should do so with their own money and stop treating their ward allowances like personal chequing accounts.

I prefer to select my own recipients for charitable giving.

If Councillor Harvey Smith has a problem with deteriorating back lanes in his ward, is it too much to ask to have him address those problems in a prudent, mature, fiscally responsible fashion consistent with tax payer expectations from a man holding public office.

Is it any wonder public opinion of Civic politicians is at an all time low.

RELATED LINKS:

WINNIPEG SUN – Joyanne Pursaga “Taxpayers Billed for Harvey Smith’s Sign Stunt.”

4 Comments

  1. Smokescreen….well said.

    Thanks for commenting.

  2. Smokescreens….exactly.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. This seems like the typical attitude of today’s City Council, and most are guilty of this perceived entitlement.

    The smokescreens they routinely throw around regarding the unsustainability of Emergency Services are great ways for the public to believe their hype. This allows for their own expensive agendas without (much) scrutiny.

    They needlessly increase the bureaucracy of their little empires, not to mention their ward allowances and salaries.

    It appears that City Council is forgetting that they too are public servants…. paid by taxpayers.

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