Pallister government to launch probe of City of Winnipeg property department
The Pallister government is moving forward with its own investigation into allegations City of Winnipeg inspectors weren't putting in a full days of work.
The city is conducting internal interviews after a private investigator alleged property inspectors were caught on video doing personal activities during work hours.
Now Premier Brian Pallister says his government is also getting involved, mandating an independent review be done of the city's property department, looking at permit delays and employee conduct.
"Taxpayers are paying people to do a job, if there's delays in reporting, if there's delays in inspections, this costs the economy of the city and the province," said Pallister.
Pallister made the comments at a Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Breakfast event. Chambers president Chuck Davidson says inspection and permit delays have long been an issue for businesses.
"Anything that can be done to speed that up is obviously something our members would benefit from," said Davidson.
The city and province have been embroiled in a funding fight, mainly over $40 million dollars of road repair money.
A letter advising Mayor Brian Bowman of the provincial probe says industry stakeholders have voiced concerns about the timeliness of permit inspections.
Bowman says he worries the premier's motives aren't genuine and that Pallister is bowing to special interests in the development community.
"I fear this is simply a partisan, politically motivated exercise and far from being independent," said Bowman.
The mayor says if the premier really wants to help, he should call a public inquiry into the police headquarters scandal, something city council called for two years ago.
"They could call it today and they could call it before they call a provincial election," said Bowman.
During the Chambers event, the premier also announced he’s offering to cost share a fiscal performance review of the City of Winnipeg. Pallister says his government has experience finding savings as it tackled a massive deficit and could pass on some of what it’s learned to Mayor Bowman.
“I'm not anticipating any reluctance, look, the mayor is doing the best he can with the experience he has with the situation he is managing, these are opportunities to do things better," said Pallister.
Bowman says he made a similar offer to Pallister to work together two years ago in a letter dated March 2017. The mayor says he wants a one on one meeting with Pallister to discuss all of these issues.