A few months ago, Mike Pagtakhan announced that he will not run for re-election this October. The Point Douglas city councilor decided that this will be his last term. In addition, his executive assistant, Vivian Santos, signed up to be his successor. She believes that her experience at City Hall and how the administration works is an asset.
An opportunity came to us to get to know her. The Point Douglas candidate shares something about herself and insights into the roles of being a City Councillor. She also talks about assistance in employment, peace & order and other city needs. Here how it goes:
Who is Vivian Santos?
I am a legal assistant by trade. I have worked for two downtown corporate commercial law firms for 14 years before working at City Hall. I volunteered on the Brian Bowman Mayoral Candidate Campaign and worked at the Mayor’s Office for a bit before starting to work for Councillor Mike Pagtakhan, as his Executive Assistant. I have two beautiful children that I am raising with my husband, Jeffrey.
What are the roles and responsibilities of being a City Councillor?
Council is the governing body of the City and the custodian of its powers, both legislative and administrative. The City may exercise only those powers granted to it by legislation.
Policymaking at the local level is limited and controlled by provincial government statute. The City of Winnipeg Charter provides the majority of powers and authority to the City of Winnipeg. However, other statutes extend additional authority to the City Council in its decision-making process.
The composition of the City Council is legislated under Part 3 of The City of Winnipeg Charter and consists of 15 Councillors and the Mayor. Each Councillor represents an individual ward while the Mayor is elected by a vote of the city-at-large.
Councilors have a dual role, as they are members of Council (decisions affecting the whole city) and members of the Community Committees (local community issues).
City Council exercises its powers either by by-law or resolution passed at a regular or special meeting when a quorum is present. Pursuant to the Charter, Council has the authority to establish committees of Council and Council may, by by-law delegate a power, duty or function to a committee of Council.
The authority to make final decisions on the following matters remains with Council and cannot be delegated to any political or administrative level below Council:
authority to enact a by-law;
authority to approve an operating or capital budget;
authority to appoint, suspend or dismiss a statutory officer; or
authority to enter into a collective agreement in respect of employees;
What assistance, help or aid can a Councillor give to Immigrants?
A Councillor can share information about many services offered to immigrants who are in need of assistance. There is a newcomer portal on the City of Winnipeg website which lists many of the services available.
I can also advocate for more support from the federal and provincial government for programs and services that they operate in the ward and city in general
I will meet with new immigrant groups on a regular basis to hear their concerns and advocate on their behalf at the council.
There are a growing unemployment and underemployment going on in the city, some say that Winnipeg is already saturated or crowded. In your opinion, what are the solution to increasing unemployed and underemployed immigrants? Are there programs in your own division been discussed?
The provincial and federal government handles many education and job training programs to assist with new arrivals to the City of Winnipeg.
Winnipeg is a thriving and growing city with many employment opportunities compared to many other Canadian cities.
How about Peace and Order, how can you involve yourself in a neighborhood watch? Or how can you strengthen or support it?
I encourage all residents to engage in various community organizations to get information about what is happening in their neighborhood. There are several great organizations in Point Douglas Ward that citizens can join. The more community members are engaged in local organizations, the better.
Point Douglas Ward