March 18, 2015 12:23 pm
Updated: March 18, 2015 12:30 pm

Flood fighter Doug McNeil gets nod for Winnipeg top job

Doug McNeil speaks at a 2013 news conference about Manitoba's flood preparations. He has been chosen for the position of Winnipeg's CAO.

Global News / File

WINNIPEG – The committee looking for a new top administrator in Winnipeg has chosen longtime public servant and Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation deputy minister Doug McNeil.

McNeil’s appointment will be voted on by city council on March 25 and it’s anticipated he will step into the job on April 7, a news release from the city says.

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McNeil has been Manitoba’s deputy minister of Infrastructure and Transportation since 2009. He is recognizable as one of the leaders in Manitoba’s flood fights, appearing at news conferences about flooding across the province. He also spent 20 years in Winnipeg’s water and waste department and led the flood protection planning branch during the 1997 “Flood of the Century.”

READ MORE: Crumbling flood barrier threatens communities

The office of the city’s top bureaucrat has frequently been in turmoil of late, with former CAO Phil Sheegl quitting in 2013 shortly before the release of a scathing audit on the construction of fire stations. Acting CAO Deepak Joshi was suspended early this year by Mayor Brian Bowman and subsequently let go after Bowman said he had “lost confidence” in him.

READ MORE: Winnipeg acting chief administrator Deepak Joshi resigns

Between his jobs with the city and the province, McNeil was a vice-president of the Manitoba Floodway Authority from 2003 to 2009 and worked on the floodway expansion following the 1997 “Flood of the Century.”

“I believe Mr. McNeil’s knowledge and experience working for the City of Winnipeg, as well as the Province of Manitoba, will be valuable as we work together to restore public trust in city hall and move Winnipeg forward,” Bowman said in the news release.

“I believe in getting things done in an open and transparent manner, and I am excited to be part of a new culture shift in our city,” McNeil said.

His appointment is recommended by a CAO selection committee comprising Bowman and councilors Marty Morantz, Mike Pagtakhan, Janice Lukes, John Orlikow, Brian Mayes, Jenny Gerbasi and Matt Allard.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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