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.

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:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winnipeg Police -- too many and too useless, said Finance Chair Marty Morantz

Not only did new councillor and professed lawyer Marty Morantz demonstrate last week his total ignorance of the law governing council, but he doubled down to say he didn't care what the law was, he was going to bully city employees around and they had better like it.
If this is an indication of the calibre of appointees to 'Know Nothing' Brian Bowman's civic government, then Winnipeggers will soon be wishing for a return of Mayor Sam Katz and what was then known as the most dysfunctional council in memory.

Bowman, whose knowledge of how city council functions is zero, decided to start his term in office by attacking the city auditor. Two days later, Morantz decided he would attack the police department and thereby demonstrate he's even more clued out over how the city runs than Bowman. What an accomplishment.

Upon presentation of the Winnipeg Police Service Third Quarter Financial Report, Morantz lobbed questions at Deputy Police Chief Art Stannard about why the police couldn't find savings in their budget (they call it "efficiencies") and why the force was bloated by officers who should be retired.

Stannard patiently explained that the rules now required the police to report to the new Police Board and for city council to ask the Board for answers. Morantz would have none of that.

HE was MARTY MORANTZ,  and HE, MARTY MORANTZ, was chairman of the finance committee, and no underling would tell him, MARTY MORANTZ, how to do things;  HE, MARTY MORANTZ, was in charge and HE, MARTY MORANTZ, was DEMANDING--YES, DEMANDING---answers from the deputy chief, the law be damned.

The other members of the finance committee--veteran councillor and  Deputy Mayor Mike Pagtakhan and, would you believe, new councillor and chairman of the Police Board Scott Gillingham --- sat like dummies, refusing to challenge the presumptuous chairman.
There are too many police and too many are useless, railed the imperious Morantz, doing his best to intimidate and humiliate the deputy chief. See. Look at me. I'M MARTY MORANTZ, and I'm a tough guy when it comes to city finances. 
Morantz was in such a rush to throw his weight around he failed to do even the most rudimentary research.

He could have read the 347-page Operational Review of the Police Service that was commissioned by city council and received in August, 2013,  17 whole months before Morantz's grandstanding performance.
This report is mandatory reading for anybody in civic government dealing with the police service who doesn't want to sound like a fool.  For 'fool' read 'Marty Morantz'.
That report contained many examples of  "efficiencies" open to the Winnipeg police, as well as suggestions as to where police positions could be eliminated and/or filled by civilians

. The report by the Matrix Consulting Group identified more than 75 positions ranging from 18 in the Central Reading Unit, 12 in Human Resources (civilians should be doing that job), and 25 at the airport (we lost the contract) to 3 constables in the Stolen Auto Unit, one constable in the Pawn Shop Detail, and the two constables with the Mounted Patrol.

Moranz could have asked which suggestions were adopted, which weren't, which could be, which shouldn't.  But that is obviously beyond the capability of a lawyer who writes wills for a living.  In which case Morantz could have had a private discussion with the head of the Police Board,  WHO SITS RIGHT BESIDE HIM ON THE FINANCE COMMITTEE. 
Instead, Morantz chose to be an arrogant pissant.
Winnipeg has had enough of this conceit.  We had our fill from Phil Sheegl, who came highly recommended by Mayor Sam Katz as the smartest guy in the room. We're still cleaning up the rubble left behind by that duo.  Was there a hint in the fact that Marty Morantz was a financial donor to Katz's election campaign?
What we've seen so far from 'Know Nothing' Brian Bowman and his henchman I'M MARTY MORANTZ is two lawyers from Charleswood/River Heights who want to jack up taxes to fund their pet projects while hacking services to the little people (who do we need so many police anyway? what do they do all day?).
Bowman claims he wants more transparency and accountability in this council. He's certainly demonstrated the need to be extremely vigilant with him and his council appointees.

Last Friday, Bowman backed Marty Morantz's public grilling of Deputy Police Chief Art Stannard.  But by Monday he was squeaking a different tune.

Police Chief Devon Clunis was out of town on vacation last week when Morantz implied the police force should be forcing a whack of officers to retire and that "it looks to me that there are a lot of officers hanging around now.” 

Clunis got back on the weekend and made a beeline for Bowman.  By the time their, ahem, meeting ended, it was clear who the alpha male in the room was and who was his bitch.

The pair held a joint news conference Monday.

"I want to re-affirm my support and council’s support for the invaluable work the members of the Winnipeg Police Service do each and every day," mumbled Bowman with a mouthful of crow.

"I support fully what our deputy chief said and from the comments I’ve read, I would have taken the same actions." said a stone-faced Clunis.

The police department had his full support,  said Bowman, adding that it was clear "to everyone now" that police report to the police board.

'Everyone' meaning Marty Morantz who was summoned to a meeting with Clunis and the mayor before the newser.

There he was fitted with a muzzle and told to "stay".  He did, neither showing his face at the news conference nor appearing to answer questions from reporters afterward.

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