Jan 12, 2020
I was not surprised by Winnipeg mayor’s statement regarding construction cost overruns in some of the City sponsored projects. I was not surprised by his reaction and measures taken in the Planning Dept fiasco. From my perspective, he is a coaster in a world of high horsepower race cars.
The personnel problems, the issues with job performance, the lack of oversight on City paid projects are things that go back decades. I moved into Winnipeg in 1981, and it took me, a newcomer, a few months to see these issues and realize there was no political will to correct them. I became a member of RAG, concerned about what we the citizens of our fair metropolis could do or assist in the governing. A rude awakening ensued.
A quick overview regarding accountability within the City hierarchy.
For the past 40 plus years, the average employee within the City purview has been managed by personnel that they worked with, on the job, for years. They were friends, in some cases relatives, this led to a severe lack of accountability, and led to endemic corruption.
Corruption is not just the taking of money it is also things like getting to work at 7, loading up the truck with materials, the crew jumps in and away they go. Right after they left the yard, they would “stop for coffee (breakfast)”, and instead of a timely arrival at the site for the day, they would show up by 9. At 10, they would break for coffee more than 15 min, often 30 min. Lunch at noon was at least 60 min, and more often or not 90min. Afternoon break was the same as the morning break. Un-remembered was the plethora of small mom and pop restaurants that were near the old (and new) works yards. Over 20 by memory. Most are gone now.
Keep in mind that the same thing was happening in all Civic Departments including the Fire, Ems and the Police. Scams multiplied. Blind eyes were turned, shoulders were shrugged, new generations were inoculated and infected. Entitlements ran amok. If you think your civic organization is unaffected, shake your head. If you think your Crown corporation is immune, naive you are. The construction industry is rife with abuse, the bigger the job, the bigger the scams. Look around at the issues that have come to light in the past few years.
Back to Brian. Elected as a Mayor with a mandate, what did he do to correct some of the abuses? HELL, IT TOOK PRIVATE CITIZENS TO HAND HIM THE PROOF on the Planning Department. As well, the City legal department dropped the ball on the Water Purification plant problems. As a Mayor, he reminds me of Jimmy Carter, or even honest and open Obama, yes, the Obama of fast and furious, of Bengasi, and so many other cockups, Barak the open he called himself.
Back to action.
What happened. A few minor players were fired, Supervisors and department heads sweated, and that was about it. A few early retirements and everything became good again. Is it? Nope. The rot is still there, the files are stashed, the network has closed ranks again, business is unchanged. Can the system be fixed? Hell yes. Is the political will there? Hell no. Brian will retire with his unearned pension from your pockets, and the graft will continue.