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City councillor resigns from police board over 'dysfunctional' relationship

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A Winnipeg city councillor has resigned as a member of the Winnipeg Police Board, calling for changes to legislation amid what he called a 'dysfunctional' relationship with City Council.

On Monday, Coun. Brian Mayes took to social media to announce he was stepping down from his role on the Winnipeg Police Board, which according to the city, "provides civilian governance and oversight of the Winnipeg Police Service."

"While I continue to support the efforts of the Chair, Coun. (Markus) Chambers, I believe the Board's relationship with City Council has become dysfunctional, with ongoing arguments over respective roles," Mayes said in a statement posted to social media.

Mayes declined a request for an interview.

Chambers told reporters Monday he does agree; lately the relationship between the board and council has been dysfunctional.

"It does show the level of dysfunction between councillors here at city hall, and that is something we do have to work better on in terms of our own communication with one another, and working collaboratively," he said.

"We've seen a sharp increase to the amount of protests that happen throughout our city and throughout our province, and throughout our country. And so we have to look at a way of improving communication around these issues in creating more transparency and accountability – not only for the board, but for the service as well."

In his statement, Mayes said he would like to see changes to current legislation, calling for alternatives for civilian oversight of policing.

Manitoba's Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said there will be changes coming to the Police Services Act, but would not provide details.

"It will modernize the act in many ways when it comes to policing and standards, and I look forward to hearing more from Coun. Mayes in terms of what his specific concerns were," Goertzen said. 

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