Candidate working for councillor causing a stir in Point Douglas ward
With election day just around the corner, the wide-open race in Point Douglas is heating up, but some candidates are questioning whether it’s a fair race.
After longtime councillor Mike Pagtakhan announced in June that he wasn’t running for re-election, his executive assistant Vivian Santos decided to vie for his seat. Her two opponents believe she could have an unfair edge.
“I think we all entered this wanting a fair election. I think all of us do and I think right now there is a question about whether this is fair,” said Kate Sjoberg, candidate for councillor of Point Douglas.
Sjoberg, an educational consultant who has previously worked for inner-city resource agencies, said the rules need to be modernized. She believes Santos might have an unfair advantage because she’s working for the councillor while running for the job.
Dean Koshelanyk, Santos and Sjoberg’s other opponent, said the rules don’t need to be changed, but rather that it’s an issue of transparency.
“She’s gone to many events representing Mike Pagtakhan so just tell the truth. That’s all that really matters to the people out there,” said Koshelanyk, who is a school trustee and community volunteer.
As for Santos, she said the work has been “phenomenal” for the last three years and she wants to continue.
On Monday she started working part-time for Pagtakhan so that she can focus more on her campaign. Santos also notes that it would tough for her to quit her job entirely.
“Now that my mom lives with me, my dad passed away, I have to take care of my family and I cannot afford to live on one income,” she said.
The City of Winnipeg said there are no rules that stop someone from working for a councillor while running for the position or anything that stipulates they must take a leave of absence.
A councillor’s executive assistant is not allowed to use city resources or equipment for their campaign.
-With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele