Winnipeg's own embarrassing mayor
I’ve been going through a lot of old posts lately, and I ran across one post in particular – “Who you hire says a lot about your priorities" – which I wrote when Phil Sheeg was hired as Director of Property and Development for the City of Winnipeg. I thought this was particularly relevant in light of how well the whole Sheegl experiment turned out.
So, the Sheegl thing was crazy on its own merits, but what struck me even more in the quotes I included in that post was the tone that the Mayor took at the time which, I think, fairly represent his attitude and approach to city government (he has become notably better at not saying what he really thinks in recent years).
At the time of the original appointment, Mayor Katz emphasized that he had discouraged his friend from the taking the job, not because of any conflict, but because working for the city government was a nightmare:
>That was probably because of the same reason people in the private sector don't often come over and work for government. At times it can be very frustrating, because you have to deal with councillors who have all sorts of opinions and agendas.
>I wouldn't wish that grief and aggravation on anybody, let alone a friend. But as you can see, he didn't take my advice.
And when Councillor Jenny Gerbasi questioned the appointment of Sheegl, for the very obvious and apparent conflict it represented, the Mayor, rather than trying to address the merits of the appointment instead decided, as he often did at the time, to launch a personal attack on Gerbasi:
>When it comes to ability, intelligence and integrity, Councillor Gerbasi wouldn't even qualify to be in the same building, let alone the same room, as Phil Sheegl.
Of course, in retrospect, comments like that seem even more absurd (look how qualified Sheegl turned out to be after all). How fortunate for Winnipeg that we have been overshadowed by Toronto’s Crack-smoking Mayor, Rob Ford, or we might have been the laughing stock of civic government. After all, our Mayor did kick a child in the face, and is otherwise developing quite a reputation for his callousness and disrespect for Winnipeg.
Hopefully in the next election Winnipeggers will remember the farcical circus of which Mayor Katz has been the ringmaster and vote for candidates that better represent what Winnipeg is and can become.