Today the City’s Executive Policy Committee approved the capital expenditure for the purchase of a helicopter for the Winnipeg Police Service. Already, the spin from City Hall is taking the citizens of Winnipeg on a new course. It is no longer just a helicopter: it is now a “Crime Copter”. A catchy phrase with a strong ‘law and order and tough on crime’ ring to it. Politicians are astute enough to recognize the benefits of portraying that image.
Personally, I was not surprised to see our Mayor come up with the required funding for the so-called Crime Copter. It seems at budget time there are always a few hidden pockets or hats with rabbits or money in them tucked away for pet projects. The helicopter money was a nice ‘pull from the hat’ at the eleventh-hour.
What did surprise me was the discovery that the helicopter was listed on the Sponsor Winnipeg website as one of the city assets available for naming rights. Had the debate about the merits of purchasing a helicopter been legitimate the posting of the naming rights would have been delayed until the funding decision was made, if for no other reason than for the sake of perception. Some people may have naively concluded that as the issue was being debated and winding its way to EPC for a vote, a final decision was still pending. Listing the helicopter as being available for naming rights two weeks prior to the vote suggests the decision to purchase a helicopter was made at least two weeks ago, maybe longer, but certainly not today.
Listing a city asset as being available for naming rights before the decision to even acquire the asset is finalized is, if not an abuse of process , at the very least, inappropriate. One could simply dismiss it as a scenario where the organization is so large that the left hand is not aware of what the right hand is doing. Or, is it instead a situation where the right hand is simply arrogant.
Perhaps the City should take a closer look at what else is on the ‘naming block’ and make sure we own it before naming rights are awarded.
The link below will take you to the Sponsor Winnipeg website: