The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Name:
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hey Big Spender. Here's your City Hall bill for the first two months of the year.


Well, well, well.  What had we here?

It was the official disclosure of how Winnipeg city councillors spent your money over the first two months of 2013.  Of course, the first thing we did was grab a yellow marker and start highlighting those expenditures that didn't look like they were necessary to run a political office.  The second thing we did was this blog.

Councillors not only get their salaries, but an allowance to run their offices, an allowance that's used as often as not as the councillors' personal public piggy bank.

Did you know you're paying Blue Cross premiums for seven councillors? 

In two months, January and February, Harvey Smith has dinged taxpayers for $840.75 in Blue Cross premiums. That's a shade more than the $829  billed by Mike Pagtakhan and $827 you paid for John Orlikow.  Devi Sharma, Ross Eadie, Jeff Browaty and Grant Nordman also have you covering their private health care to lesser amounts.

Public Transit?  What are we? Bums?  You paid $600 each for parking for Justin Swandel, Russ Wyatt, Scott Fielding and Grant Nordman.   Devi Sharma claimed $57 for her assistant's parking cost.

Councillors love to tap that free money to spend on advertising themselves.  Brian Mayes tops the list with $3456 spent on advertising in two months.  That's well ahead of John Orlikow, council's No. 2 advertiser, at $2235.

The other side of advertising is donations.  City councillors are even more anxious to play the big shot by tossing around your money. Ross Eadie leads the pack by having spent $5270 on donations in the first two months of the year alone.  Scott Fielding is a poor second with $3800.

But Brian Mayes is in a category of his own with $28,000 of taxpayers' money handed over to Save Our Seine, a private lobby group.  And he promises he'll give them the same amount as long as he's able to.

Councillors spend your money in a variety of personal ways. 

Jenny Gerbasi has hired a private tutor (your cost, $1104 over two months) to teach her French.  Devi Sharma operates a separate office (you've paid $3339 for office rental and utilities).   Harvey Smith has you paying for his subscription to the Winnipeg Free Press; Jeff Browaty to the Winnipeg Sun. Browaty also charges you for his home internet ($53.50). Smith bills his membership ($35) in the left-wing think tank Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives.

Scott Fielding had you pay $195 for a portrait session.  And Russ Wyatt sent sympathy flowers to someone ($144.93) then had the public pay for his expression of sorrow.

No expense was too tiny for the cheapest councillors.  Jenny Gerbasi billed for 22 cents for a photocopy and 63 cents for a stamp.  Scott Fielding charged you 61 cents for postage.

Now that we know where to look, we'll be posting the councillors' expenditures on a regular basis.

*******************
Harvey Smith

January
Manitoba Blue Cross February 2013 Non-Professional Services 280.25
Manitoba Blue Cross Jan 2013 Non-Professional Services 280.25
Winnipeg Free Press 13 Week Subscription Renewal Periodicals and Subscriptions 77.62
Shaw Cable Shaw Cable Television Cable 76.99
Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives Canadian Centre For Policy Membership Fees 35.00

 February
Green Action Centre     Canadian Environmental Network  Contrib-Donations     300.00
Manitoba Blue Cross March 2013 Non-Professional Services 280.25
 

*******************
Jeff Browaty
January
Manitoba Blue Cross February 2013 Non-Professional Services 109.34
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross Jan 2013 Non-Professional Services 109.34
Jeff Browaty Art & Soul Luncheons, Receptions & Events 450.00
Jeff Browaty Family Fun Day Prize Ward Activities 213.98
Jeff Browaty Home Internet Internet Access 53.50
Jeff Browaty Sons Of Italy Dinner Luncheons, Receptions & Events 800.00
Jeff Browaty Winnipeg Sun Periodicals and Subscriptions 52.55

February
Manitoba Blue Cross March 2013 Non-Professional Services 109.34
Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Ensemble Manitoba Ukrainian Dance Festi Contrib-Donations 500.00
total $1963

*****************************
Grant Nordman  
January
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation January Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross February 2013 Non-Professional Services 111.07
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross Jan 2013 Non-Professional Services 111.07
2013-01-16 Teledisc Systems Ltd Website Maintenance Hosting Website/Domain Licenses 642.00
City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Metered Postage January 2013 Postage 1.83
John Taylor Collegiate Piper Classic Basketball Tourn Contrib-Community Events 125.00
Sean Angus Lyon Buchanan School Contrib-Donations 29.24

February
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Mpc Feb 1-28, 2013 Parking Space Rental 200.00
Order Of The Sons Of Italy Registration & Buy Gala Ticket Luncheons, Receptions & Events 400.00
2013-02-04 Winnipeg Military Family Resource
Centre Yellow Ribbon Gala 2013 Luncheons, Receptions & Events 200.00
2013-02-05 The Army Navy And Air Force Veterans Advertising 2013 Advertising 324.00
2013-02-07 Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 260.00
Screen Design Ltd Billboards Advertising 526.44
Manitoba Blue Cross March 2013 Non-Professional Services 111.07
total $333.21
Logberg Heimskringla Inc Ad Issue 2 Advertising 136.00
Screen Design Ltd 4x8 Billboards Advertising 100.58
total $1346 advertising
City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Kiosk 113008 - Optimist Club Of Assiniboia Bud Spud & Steak -
Councillor Nordman Contrib-Donations 74.97
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00
total $600 parking
The Assiniboia Chamber Of Commerce Monthly Luncheon Luncheons, Receptions & Events 28.57
Total $856 lunches
****************************

Dan Vandal
January
City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Kiosk 113004 - Festival Du Voyageur - Councillor Vandal Contrib-Donations 258.08
2013-01-31 City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Metered Postage January 2013 Postage 1.26

February
Le Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain Pavillion Canadien-Francais Advertising 200.00
Nelson Mcintyre Collegiate Musical Program Advertising 100.00
2013-02-05 Belgian Club 2013 Kermis Book Advertising 45.00
2013-02-06 Winakwa Community Centre Inc Business Card Sized Ad Advertising 25.00
2013-02-06 Write It Right Champlain/Archwood Newsletter Advertising 195.00
Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 750.00
2013-02-15 Ngcc Knights U12 Golden Ringette Tournament Advertising 75.00
2013-02-21 Winnipeg Free Press Festival Du Voyager Advertising 656.25
Southdale Recreation Association Inc Bud, Spud Tickets Luncheons, Receptions & Events 75.00
2013-02-27 City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Kiosk 113007 - Southdale Community Club Bud Spud & Steak -
***********************************

Scott Fielding
January
City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Cof-Gl-I-109-Ixr-Xerox Printing,Binding,Photocopying 1.77
Filipino Journal Display Advertising Advertising 550.00
2013-01-16 Imperial Parking Canada Corporation January Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00
2013-01-16 St James Junior Canucks Canucks Souvenir Program Advertising 115.00
2013-01-16 The Assiniboia Chamber Of Commerce Membership Fees Periodicals and Subscriptions 175.00
2013-01-16 The Voxair Issue #22 Advertising 58.41
2013-01-16 Trina Allan Family Portrait Session Stationery and Office Supplies 150.00
2013-01-16 Winnipeg Outdoor Marketing Group Inc Recycle Box Advertising 195.00
2013-01-17 Scott Fielding Crime Prevention Breakfast Parking Meter/Voucher 4.76
Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 260.00
Sledge Hockey Manitoba New Jerseys & Equipment Contrib-Donations 150.00
2013-01-30 City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Arena Facilities Advertising - January 1-October 31, 2013 For
Councillor Scott Fielding Advertising 441.73
2013-01-31 City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Metered Postage January 2013 Postage 0.61

February
Winnipeg Outdoor Marketing Group Inc Recycle Box Advertising 120.00
2013-02-04 Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Mpc Feb 1-28, 2013 Parking Space Rental 200.00
2013-02-04 Winnipeg Military Family Resource
Centre Yellow Ribbon Gala 2013 Luncheons, Receptions & Events 100.00
2013-02-05 Kw9a1 Tournament - Program Guide Advertising 100.00
Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 260.00
Western Canada Aviation Museum Inc Historic Aircraft - B-17 Exhib Contrib-Donations 2,700.00
2013-02-12 St James Assiniboia Pioneer Association Cuthbert Grant Day Contrib-Donations 860.00
2013-02-14 Manitoba Blue Cross March 2013 Non-Professional Services 278.80
2013-02-14 St James Collegiate Student Educational Trip Contrib-Donations 100.00
2013-02-15 All-Net.Ca Website Hosting & Support Website/Domain Licenses 600.00
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00
2013-02-28 Scott Fielding Winnipeg Chamber Of Commerce Membership Fees 450.00
*********************************

Justin Swandel
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation January Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00

February
Winnipeg Outdoor Marketing Group Inc Recycle Box Advertising 120.00
2013-02-04 Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Mpc Feb 1-28, 2013 Parking Space Rental 200.00
2013-02-04 Indo-Canadian Telegram Inc 1/8 Page Color Advertising 150.00
2013-02-07 Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 260.00
2013-02-07 Manitoba Great Wall Performing Arts Chinese New Year Celebration Advertising 250.00
2013-02-07 Manitoba Great Wall Performing Arts Chinese New Year Celebration Contrib-Sponsorships-Cash 250.00
The Behavioural Health Foundation Inc Bonnycastle School Flyers Casual Services 500.00
City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Metered Postage February 2013 Postage 0.63
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00

**********************************

Russ Wyatt
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation January Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00

February
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Mpc Feb 1-28, 2013 Parking Space Rental 200.00
Indo-Canadian Telegram Inc 1/8 Page Color Advertising 150.00
2013-02-05 Transcona Ringette Association Transcona Ringette Tournament Contrib-Donations 300.00
2013-02-07 Canstar Community News Limited The Herald Advertising 473.61
2013-02-07 Cosmopolitan Florists Ltd Sympathy Flowers Ward Activities 144.39
2013-02-07 Transcona Major Junior Hockey Club Sportsman Dinner 2013 Luncheons, Receptions & Events 1,000.00
2013-02-07 Write It Right Park City Cc Newsletter Advertising 1,095.00
Transcona Nationals Football Club Bud, Spud And Steak Luncheons, Receptions & Events 200.00
Imperial Parking Canada Corporation Parking Parking Space Rental 200.00
********************************

Jenny Gerbasi
January
City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Cof-Gl-I-109-Ixr-Xerox Printing,Binding,Photocopying 0.22
Write It Right Lord Roberts Community Centre Advertising 195.00
City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Metered Postage January 2013 Postage 0.63

February
Alliance Francaise Private Tutoring Training,Workshops and Tuition 1,104.00
Riverview Community Centre Inc Reflector Advertising 350.00
2013-02-05 Green Action Centre Jack Frost Challenge Contrib-Donations 100.00
2013-02-05 Jennifer J Gerbasi Red Moon Road Fundraiser Luncheons, Receptions & Events 40.00
Villa Cabrini Inc Centre Fundraiser Contrib-Donations 50.00
Fort Garry Women'S Resource Centre Fab Fem Fundraiser Luncheons, Receptions & Events 40.00
2013-02-22 Mazurgroup Consulting/Management Skatefest Advertising 100.00
****************************************

John Orlikow
January
Manitoba Blue Cross February 2013 Non-Professional Services 275.91
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross Jan 2013 Non-Professional Services 275.91
Jetpack Media Writing/Editing Casual Services 1,160.00

February

Centro Caboto Centre Program Guide Advertising 175.00
Manitoba Blue Cross March 2013 Non-Professional Services 275.91
Central Corydon Community Centre Inc Arena Wall Board Advertising 400.00
2013-02-28 Central Corydon Community Centre Inc Winter Carnival Brochure Advertising 100.00
Winnipeg Outdoor Marketing Group Inc Recycle Box Advertising 1,560.00
*******************************

Mike Pagtakhan
January
Manitoba Blue Cross February 2013 Non-Professional Services 276.49
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross Jan 2013 Non-Professional Services 276.49
Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 130.00
2013-01-18 Filipino Journal Display Advertising Advertising 300.00
2013-01-18 Pilipino Express News Magazine Business Card Sized Advertising 44.00

February

Pilipino Express News Magazine Business Card Sized Advertising 44.00
2013-02-04 World Chinese Business Post 1/4 Page Advertising 60.00
2013-02-05 Manitoba Great Wall Performing Arts Chinese New Year Celebration Luncheons, Receptions & Events 70.00
2013-02-05 Portuguese In Manitoba Banner Advertising Advertising 100.00
2013-02-05 Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Inc Nasha Hromada Advertising 75.00
2013-02-07 Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 130.00
2013-02-07 Infinity Business Group News Magazine Advertising 100.00
Pilipino Express News Magazine Business Card Advertising 44.00
2013-02-14 Manitoba Blue Cross March 2013 Non-Professional Services 276.49
Casa Dos Acores Azorean Cultural Xii Cultural Week Advertising 317.20
Immaculate Heart Of Mary School Fund Raising Dinner Luncheons, Receptions & Events 200.00
2013-02-28 Pilipino Express News Magazine Business Card Advertising 44.00
*********************************

Devi Sharma
January
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross February 2013 Non-Professional Services 273.02
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross Jan 2013 Non-Professional Services 273.02
Fernoc Group Ltd Rental Of Office Space Rentals 1,278.25
Manitoba Hydro Electricity/Natural Gas Heat-Gas,Oil,Steam & Electric 257.15

February
One! International Poverty Relief Charity Event Tickets Luncheons, Receptions & Events 240.00
2013-02-07 Manitoba Hydro Manitoba Hydro Heat-Gas,Oil,Steam & Electric 270.41
Fernoc Group Ltd Rental Of Office Space Rentals 1,278.25
2013-02-15 Protelec Alarms Ltd Burglary Monitoring Fee Telephone-Alarm Systems 256.80
2013-02-21 Devi Sharma Cream For Community Office Other Operating Supplies 4.25
2013-02-21 Devi Sharma Parking For Executive Assistant Parking Meter/Voucher 57.14
***************************

Ross Eadie
January
The Catholic Women's League Annual Palm Sunday Tea Contrib-Donations 100.00
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross February 2013 Non-Professional Services 109.05
2013-01-16 Manitoba Blue Cross Jan 2013 Non-Professional Services 109.05
2013-01-16 Winnipeg Free Press First Nations Voice Advertising 250.00
Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Inc Ukrainian Canadian Social Serv Advertising 150.00

February
St Josaphat Selo-Villa Tenants Associatn Social & Recreational Programs Contrib-Donations 400.00
Trident Press Ltd Ukrainian Voice Advertising 75.00
Manitoba Blue Cross March 2013 Non-Professional Services 109.05
Boys And Girls Clubs Of Winnipeg Inc Aberdeen Centre Renovation Contrib-Donations 1,200.00
2013-02-21 Manitoba Children'S Museum Programming And Access Contrib-Donations 2,500.00
2013-02-21 Seven Oaks Education Foundation Inc Mynarski Citizenship Award Contrib-Donations 1,000.00
2013-02-22 Canadian Czechoslovak Benevolent Csba Centennial Gala Contrib-Donations 70.00
Provincial Council Of Women Of High Tea Luncheons, Receptions & Events 100.00
******************************************

Thomas Steen
February

City of Winnipeg - Journal Entry Arena Advertising September 15th, 2012 To September 14th, 2013 -
Invoice 864 - November & December - Councillor Thomas Steen Advertising 351.79
2013-02-15 Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 540.00
2013-02-15 Eaglemere Residents Association Eaglemere Residents Website Advertising 250.00
Winnipeg Free Press First Nations Voice Advertising 250.00
2013-02-15 Winnipeg Outdoor Marketing Group Inc Recycle Box Advertising 440.00
Patrick Media Inc Projector Tv & Speaker System Contrib-Donations 3,248.50
************************************

Paula Havixbeck
January
Tuxedo Community Centre Inc Annual Outdoor Hockey Tournament Contrib-Donations 750.00
2013-01-16 The Assiniboia Chamber Of Commerce Membership Fee Membership Fees 175.00
2013-01-24 St James Assiniboia 55+ Centre Aging Well Expo Advertising 50.00
2013-01-25 Plast Ukrainian Youth Assoc. Plast Malanka Tickets Luncheons, Receptions & Events 200.00

February
Indo-Canadian Telegram Inc January Issue Advertising 150.00
2013-02-05 Stephanie Halligan Communications -Online Platform Website/Domain Licenses 1,075.00
2013-02-05 Winnipeg Chinatown Development Corp Chinese New Year Banquet Luncheons, Receptions & Events 420.00
Charleswood Historical Society 2013 Centennial Calendar Advertising 300.00
2013-02-21 Tuxedo Community Centre Inc Tuxedo Cc Hockey Tournament Contrib-Donations 750.00
*****************************************

Brian Mayes
January
Brian Mayes Tribute To Rachael Browne Gala Luncheons, Receptions & Events 84.75
2013-01-16 Canstar Community News Limited The Lance Advertising 525.00
2013-01-16 Glenwood Community Centre Sign Rental Advertising 300.00
2013-01-16 Greendell Park Community Centre Inc Hall Sign Advertising Advertising 250.00
Norberry-Glenlee Community Centre Inc Gym Advertising Space Advertising 400.00
2013-01-18 Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 135.00
2013-01-21 Advert Designs Dakota Bowling Lanes Advertising 299.50

Jocelyn Hutton Foundation Inc Hospice Sunday Supper Luncheons, Receptions & Events 150.00
St Vital Curling Club Inc Dominion Curling Club Champion Advertising 85.00

February
2013-02-04 St Vital Mustangs Football Club Inc 65th Fundraiser Alumni Dinner Advertising 100.00
2013-02-05 La Liberte 100th Anniversary Advertising 571.43
2013-02-05 La Liberte 100th Anniversary Luncheons, Receptions & Events 142.86
2013-02-05 Midget Aa Vic'S Calendar Fund-Raiser Advertising 100.00
2013-02-05 Winnipeg Chinatown Development Corp Chinese New Year Banquet Luncheons, Receptions & Events 420.00
2013-02-07 6p Marketing Website Design Layout Website/Domain Licenses 1,375.00
2013-02-07 Benchmark Advertising Ltd Current Month Advertising 135.00
2013-02-07 St Vital Agricultural Society 2013 Fair Book Advertising 40.00
Heritage Winnipeg Corporation Hw Fundraising Luncheon Luncheons, Receptions & Events 750.00
Save Our Seine River Environment Inc Save Our Seine Executive Direc Contrib-Donations 28,000.00
2013-02-26 Write It Right Norberry Glenlee,Glenwood/Wind Advertising 525.00

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