Browaty 'disappointed' how public concerns from police board played out
Former police board chairman Coun. Jeff Browaty believes the mayor's office instructed a letter calling for his removal to be made public right away.
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Coun. Jeff Browaty says he's disappointed a letter calling for his removal from the Winnipeg Police Board was publicized.
The North Kildonan councillor addressed reporters on Wednesday following his return from a trip in the U.S. -- where he was attending to city business -- and resignation as chairperson of the board.
Browaty announced he was stepping down after the police board gave Mayor Brian Bowman a letter asking for his removal after concerns were raised by the board’s Indigenous advisory council.
Council co-chair Shauna Fontaine said Broway’s questioning about the cost of training civic employees on the legacy of Indian residential schools was problematic, as were comments he made afterwards that she believes demonstrated his lack of understanding on Indigenous issues.
Browaty explained he felt surprised and blindsided by the concerns of Fontaine’s council.
“I expressed my desire to go and learn, to understand those items, as an elected official I should probably have a better grasp."
He said the police board’s letter to the mayor should have remained private – at least in the short term – but instead it was released publicly on the same day it was delivered, all the while he was out of town.
Browaty believes that direction to publish the letter came from Bowman’s office.
“In my mind, because the letter was released at his coaxing, if you will, at [Bowman’s] direction … I felt because it was a unanimous letter from the police board I didn’t have an option,” he said of his decision to resign.
“I would have appreciated the opportunity to have a face-to-face discussion with the police board on the matter.”
Bowman told reporters it was the board’s decision to publish the letter, saying only that he made it clear to members that if they wanted Browaty gone, they would be held accountable.
“I was not willing to remove him based on backroom dealings,” he said.
The search for the new police board chair is underway.
Bowman said he’s not rushing into any decision, and indicated no timeline for when an appointment would be made.
The mayor’s office says he can nominate either a councillor or a citizen to take the post as chair. Bowman could also chair meetings himself.
The police board’s next meeting is in March.