Annual Accountability of Key City Staff Non-existent

In the ‘Question Period for the Mayor’ at the April 28, 2022 Council meeting, I asked why there have been no performance reviews for the statutory officers – he said the public services was working on developing ‘Objective Criteria’ – but . . . he had made a motion at his Executive Policy Committee meeting in 2016 – to craft criteria – which wasn’t done – reasons below. And only one performance review has been done – in 2017. No performance reviews have been held since. I think this is just unacceptable, and look forward to better accountability to be put in place by a new Mayor following election 2022.

City Council is responsible for appointing four statutory officers in critical roles:

  1. Chief Administrative Officer: essentially ensuring Council / Executive Policy Committee direction is acted on & managing & supervising 10,000+ employees (Section 97 The City of Winnipeg Charter Act )
  2. City Clerk: essentially ensuring all minutes and records of Council are prepared and kept safe (Section 99 The City of Winnipeg Charter Act)
  3. Chief Financial Officer: essentially receiving, recording and safe keeping of city finances (Section 100  The City of Winnipeg Charter Act)
  4. City Auditor: essentially establish procedures to measure efficiency of city operations (Section 102 The City of Winnipeg Charter Act)

These are key operational positions within the City which are critical to the City’s overall functioning and service delivery.

Developing performance evaluations

In 2016, some Council members raised concerns over the performance of the CAO. No performance review or evaluation of the CAO had been conducted as per the CAO’s employment contract. All staff EXCEPT for the four statutory officers have performance reviews conducted by the Human Resources department. There was a lack of clarity on who and how a performance review should be conducted for the CAO – and other statutory officers. As a result, the Mayor and his Executive Policy Committee brought forward a motion on April 27, 2016  directing the Public Service to (see Annual Evaluations of City Council’s Four Statutory Officers motion):

  1. Report back within 120 days to Council with recommendations for a process and implementation plan to implement annual evaluations of City Council’s four statutory officers with the maximum authority under the existing Charter, which report shall include;
  2. a review of best practices in other jurisdictions;
  3. human resource and labour relations implications;
  4. budgetary implications;
  5. legal implications; and
  6. all other relevant considerations.

After several extensions of time, on December 14, 2016, the Winnipeg Public Service reported back to Council. The final Annual Evaluations of Four Statutory Officers report did NOT* contain what Council had requested BUT did make the agenda to be voted on. The following was adopted by Council:

  1. That a Performance Management Sub-Committee be established, consisting of four councillors with at least one being a current member of Executive Policy Committee, to be appointed annually by the Mayor at the Organizational Meeting of Council.
  2. That the responsibility for the development and facilitation of the annual performance review process be delegated as outlined in Appendix “B”.
  3. That an amendment to the In Camera by-law (draft attached as Appendix “A”) be enacted that will permit Council to meet in camera to consider internal performance reviews of the City Auditor.

(a) That Appendix “A” be replaced with the draft by-law attached to this motion.

  1. That the Proper Officers of the City do all things necessary to implement the intent of the foregoing.

2017: The first and so far only Annual Performance Management Sub-Committee was appointed by the Mayor on November 1, 2017, consisting of Councillors Allard, Gilroy, Morantz and Wyatt. I have no idea if the committee met to conduct performance evaluations of the four statutory officers that Council appoints.


Non-existent performance evaluations of key City staff

Since 2017, the Mayor has not appointed a Performance Management Sub-Committee to perform annual reviews of the four statutory positions. So, no one has been overseeing the performance of these four statutory officers. I find it unacceptable for a corporation with 10,000+ staff, to have no oversight and annual performance reviews of the key operational positions.

  • 2018 – no annual review of any of the four statutory positions as set out by Council
  • 2019 – no annual review of any of the four statutory positions as set out by Council
  • 2020 – no annual review of any of the four statutory positions as set out by Council
  • 2021 – no annual review of any of the four statutory positions as set out by Council


Why is a performance review important?

  • Everyone benefits when there are annual reviews. It is a time where the Mayor and Council representatives would review and reflect on how the statutory officers are delivering on the direction Council sets forth through policies, and strategic plans**,  and a time to provide annual feedback to the employee regarding their performance.
  • One of the clearest benefits of an annual review is the opportunity to improve the overall performance in the workplace. Reviews help ensure the organizations is moving forward with clear direction.
  • Performance reviews allow for improvement by exposing problem areas and allows for a review of the organizations strengths and weaknesses.

In summary:

I have raised my concerns with members of the Mayor’s Executive Policy Committee, who essentially say, its up to the Mayor to appoint a Performance Management Sub-Committee. I am optimistic things will change this fall after the City holds an election for a new Mayor and Council members.

*The Mayor has authority to review all reports and add / delete / change any report prior to posting to the agenda.  (Pgs. 25 & 26 Governance Review)

**Winnipeg is the only City of ten major Canadian cities that has NOT every developed a strategic plan. (Pgs. 46 & 47 Governance Review) Many Councillors, myself included, have brought forward motions to have the Mayor’s support in developing a strategic plan for Winnipeg, but the Mayor has rejected the requests citing the budget and Our Winnipeg are adequate as a strategic plan.