Winnipeg: Mayoral candidate Don Woodstock proposes a considerable incentive for City Councillors to ditch the self-promotion at the taxpayers’ expense.
City Councillors each year get a ward budget of $85,000 to pay staff and expenses and contribute to cuases that are aimed at community improvement. And if they get their way, that allowance will be increased by another $45,000 increase proposed by Old Kildonan Councillor, Devi Sharma, which the Executive Policy Committee will have to consider. However, as per Woodstocks’ release, Councillors are using money intended to go back into the community as their slush fund for self-promotion.
“As Mayor of Winnipeg, this new plan will see the Councillors on the ground, in the neighborhood walking and doing more in their ward. The key is how Ward Allowances are spent. I am offering $10,000 annually from the Mayor’s Discretionary Fund to any/all councillors who would stop self-promotion and use the money to enhance their ward.” Currently,
Woodstock used the expenses reported by St. James City Councillor and fellow Mayoral candidate Scott Gillingham as an example. Based on the reports posted by Gillingham’s office, he had spent approximately $150,000 in the eight years since taking office. And roughly $20,000 came within the past year on advertising promoting himself.
Gillingham was not the only City Councillor using Ward funds to promote themselves; it is standard practice. As a councillor, you should not need to tell your constituents you are elected if you are doing the job they elected you to do.
Using Ward’s allowance for self-promotion can be seen as selfish and not using the funds in the manner it was intended, which is to improve the community and put towards causes in its best interest, not theirs.