City councillor resigns from police board following failed security check
WINNIPEG -- Vivian Santos, who is the city councillor for Point Douglas, has resigned from her position on the police board after she failed to pass a security clearance check.
Councillor Markus Chambers, who is the police board chair, confirmed the news Tuesday afternoon.
Chambers said it is unfortunate that she won't be on the board.
"It is disappointing for me because I was looking forward to working with Councillor Santos on this file. It's an important file and I think she has a lot of important input being the councillor for Point Douglas and to provide a lot of perspective in terms of policing," said Chambers in an interview with CTV News.
The file that Chambers is referring to is the annual police budget, which he said is worked on quarterly.
Chambers said it was likely a family member that caused her to fail the background check and that it wasn't her specifically.
Moving forward, Chambers said he will be consulting with the mayor to determine how they will fill the vacant seat.
"Whether it's another council member that will be considered and ratified through a council vote or whether it's a civilian who will take that empty seat," he said.
He added whoever fills the seat, it is important they have a "good ear for listening" and provide input from the community, based on the recent calls for police reform.
Despite her resignation, Chambers said he has a tremendous amount of respect for Santos.
"Even though this issue has come to light, she is a person of integrity and a person that I trust 100 per cent."
'I WAS ABSOLUTELY SURPRISED'
Speaking to the media on Tuesday afternoon, Santos said she is not sure why she was flagged in the background check. She said police wouldn't give her a reason either.
"I was absolutely surprised. I have nothing to hide. I don't have a criminal record, I have never been charged, I have never been arrested," said Santos.
She said when she filled out the background check, she had to disclose her husband, her parents, her husband's family members, her children and she had to give four references from her friends.
"If the police could tell me that would have been nice to know. Guilty by association, is that warranted? I don't know."
She said she knows of other board members who have been affiliated with accused people so she isn't sure why she was flagged.
"At the end of the day, it would be nice to know because it does put a little bit of stress on myself and family, because I know we're a good family."
She said she is disappointed because she was looking forward to being on the board and doing some "really good work."
"I wasn't scared to do the security check. I wasn't scared at all. So when it came back to me, I was disappointed."
Santos added that in the end, she can't let it bother her.
"I can't let it hang over me. You know, I just got to keep moving and think positively and continue to keep working," said Santos.