When he ran for mayor of Winnipeg, Brian Bowman campaigned on a promise of change at city hall. Three years later, his own office has undergone more upheaval than any other city department.
No fewer than 14 employees have left the mayor’s office since Bowman’s inauguration in 2014, while only four of the mayor’s 12 existing staffers have survived from the beginning of the term.
Bowman’s ambitious political agenda, the inexperience of his original team and the ordinary pressures associated with political work are all being cited as explanations for the high rate of turnover in the office of the mayor.
“It’s not uncommon in political offices to have turnover. I think that’s healthy,” Bowman said in an interview last week at city hall.
“These jobs are demanding. They’re under a lot of scrutiny and I expect a lot from my staff — and I push very hard to get results for the people that I ultimately serve, which are Winnipeggers.”
The 14 departed mayoral staffers run the gamut from senior policy advisors to comminications people to administrative assistants. Their time with the mayor’s office ranged from more than two years to as little as two weeks.
“Teams change. They change for different reasons and the environment we’re in changes. It’s an ever-moving experience,” said Jason Fuith, Bowman’s chief of staff and one of the four employees who started with Bowman in November 2014 and remain in the office.
Johanna Wood, who worked on Bowman’s mayoral campaign and served as his social media officer for the first year of his term, said the mayor had ambitious plans for his administration when he entered office.
“He went in with a lot of energy. Most of us on the team that went in with him had a pretty good idea of of the things he wanted to accomplish and were on board for that,” said…