Information Sharing – Problem Solving & The Cost to Taxpayers

At the May 24th meeting of City Council, I brought forward a Motion requesting the opportunity to schedule a meeting with the City’s Departmental Directors if I required additional information on a report prepared for discussion at a Standing Policy Committee meeting*.

Currently, the City’s policy is to release Committee reports and agendas 96 hours before a Committee meeting, which includes weekends and holidays.  This provides insufficient time to study and consider the ramifications of numerous reports,  contact the Department Director, and obtain answers to questions.

After extensive discussion at the Council meeting, my Motion was denied by a vote of 10 to 6:

  • 6 in support (Councillors who are not on Mayor’s Executive Policy Committee)
  • 10 against (Mayor; 6 Members of Executive Policy Committee; Deputy Mayor; Acting Deputy Mayor; and the Council Speaker).

Daily in my role as City Councillor, I observe examples of the cost to taxpayers resulting from the poor sharing of information, poor decision making and poor results.  Silos, empires, organizational culture, innovation, motivation and creativity (or lack there of), information suppression, history, function, and dysfunction are some of the factors that impact efficient use of tax dollars

All make for a complicated labyrinth of issues that in my opinion, require a strong Governance Model and Transformational Leadership to improve the way City Hall functions and the way taxpayer dollars are spent.

 

Governance Model

  • A strong governance model provides a strong foundation to share information and make decisions.
  • In the past 20 years, no Mayor has supported a review of the City’s Governance Model.  For details, SEE A Call for a Governance Review
  • I am supporting a motion by Councillor Wyatt to hold a Governance Review.
  • Mayor Bowman and his Executive Policy Committee will be considering whether or not funding should be allocated to a Governance Review in the 2018 budget process.
  • Following the debate on restricted information sharing at the May 24th City Council meeting, a few Councillors recognized and publicly stated: ‘perhaps it’s time for a governance review’.
  • I highly recommend you contact your Ward Councillor and ask them to support the funding of a governance review at City Hall.

As Councillor for the South Winnipeg – St Norbert ward, I will be adamant in my efforts to secure a governance review, and to continue improving the way information sharing and decision making processes occur.

 

Transformational Leadership

  • Do we have a Mayor willing to support a Governance Review and transform the way we do business at City Hall ?
  • Do we have City Councillors willing to support a Governance Review and provide leadership in transforming the way information is shared and decisions are made at City Hall ?
  • Other than on the floor of Council where reports are debated, Councillors never meet as an entire group to discuss how to improve our City. There are only 15 Councillors. Think about this. Leaders lead and set examples.  If the leader of the City never gathers all 15 elected leaders together for discussions on City issues, one can easily understand how such a silo-based dysfunctional culture exists.

Making change in a deep-rooted, mammoth system is not easy.  It requires time, persistence and hard work. Your comments are always welcome: jlukes@winnipeg.ca

Thank you to the media for covering this important discussion:


*The City of Winnipeg has established six Standing Policy Committees:

  1. Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works – Councillor Morantz, Chair
  2. Innovation – Councillor Gilroy, Chair
  3. Finance – Councillor Gillingham, Chair
  4. Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development – Councillor Orlkow, Chair
  5. Protection, Community Services and Parks – Councillor Pagtakhan, Chair
  6. Water and Waste, Riverbank Management and the Environment – Councillor Mayes Chair

Each of the six City Councillors who serves as Chair of a Standing Policy Committee is automatically on the Executive Policy Committee (EPC).  Often, EPC members are referred to as the Mayor’s Inner Circle as they meet weekly with the Mayor.

Previously, two EPC members would also be assigned the additional roles of Deputy Mayor and Assistant Deputy Mayor.  However, in 2016, these roles were revised to be independent of EPC.  These are significant positions, so representatives appointed by the Mayor are now often included in decision making discussions:

  • Deputy Mayor – Councillor Allard
  • Assistant Deputy Mayor – Councillor Gerbasi

 

 

 

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