Winnipeg city council seeks rule change after councillor assault charge

Written by admin on 13/07/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

The City of Winnipeg is taking steps to revise their charter following recent criminal charges filed against a councillor.

Russ Wyatt was charged with sexual assault July 11.

READ MORE:
Winnipeg city councillor Russ Wyatt charged with sexual assault, denies allegations

The long-time Transcona councillor has denied allegations made by a woman that he assaulted her at a residence in January and is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

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Despite the severity of the allegations, Wyatt is still able to continue in his capacity as City Councillor.

According to current rules, Wyatt does not have to take a leave of absence while his case proceeds through the court system.

At the council meeting Thursday morning, councillors put forward a motion to force anyone facing criminal charges to take a paid leave of absence. Russ Wyatt was not present at the meeting.

READ MORE:
Councillor Russ Wyatt no-show for final Winnipeg City Council meeting

The motion reads, in part:

Be it resolved that the City of Winnipeg request that the Province of Manitoba to amend the City of Winnipeg Charter to make it mandatory for an elected member of Council to take a paid leave of absence while facing criminal charges including, but not necessarily limited to, assault and sexual assault.

The Notice of Motion was made by Cindy Gilroy, seconded by Mike Pagtakhan.

“We have to meet many members of the public services and the public,” Gilroy said, “so I think we have a responsibility to ensure that women are safe during those times and they feel safe in this work environment.

“We’re in a position of power.”

Word of the motion comes after some city officials admitted last week they weren’t aware of the rules surrounding charges in the City of Winnipeg Charter.

On Thursday, Gilroy said she assumed there would have already been something that would have deterred Wyatt from returning to City Hall if he chose to.

“I thought that somebody would be put on leave,” Gilroy said. “At many different institutions and businesses they would be required to take a leave of absence, so this isn’t something that’s new.”

Mayor Brian Bowman said he will support the motion when it is discussed again in September.

The notice will be considered at the next council meeting. It will be reviewed by the province shortly after if passed.

If accepted, the motion will place councillors more in line with other city staff in positions of authority, specifically members of the police service.

WPS officers are placed on paid administrative leave when facing charges or under investigation.

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