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Regina city council approves interim board for REAL


A new interim board of directors for the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) was approved by city council at a special meeting on Friday afternoon.

All six appointees are city staff working under city manager Niki Anderson.

“I have staff that are super flexible,” said Anderson following the approval. “This is about a change in governance.”

The interim board is made up of Anderson, city CFO Barry Lacey, Anderson’s chief of staff Ly Pham, new city executive director of corporate services Jennifer Johnson, manager of sports and recreation Jeff May, and city manager of labour relations Maria Burns.

“I did that because this board will have a different mandate than the last board,” explained Anderson. “[The previous board] was strategic and worked closely with the CEO.”

“Our interim board outputs will be getting back to council with the questions they asked related to the MNP report.”

That report found REAL’s financial situation to be unsustainable due to the organization’s $17.2 million debt.

Throughout Friday’s meeting, councillors questioned the city manager at length whether or not administrative staff have the capacity and expertise to take on the REAL board responsibilities.

“Are we in the business and [do we] have the knowledge of running sporting events, concerts and all of that?” asked Ward 5 Coun. John Findura.

“[Admin] does things that are not just the barebones or critical city services,” Anderson responded. “This is interim.”

“Something has to give,” Findura added.

The board was backed with strong support from present councillors. Only Findura voted against the recommendations.

Mayor Sandra Masters and Ward 2 Coun. Bob Hawkins were not present at this meeting.

Ward 9 Coun. Jason Mancinelli left the meeting prior to council’s approval vote.


During the course of debate, Mancinelli pressed Anderson on the recommended appointees.

He was cut off multiple times by deputy mayor Terina Nelson who asked him to clarify his questions.

“We are vetting the applicants to make sure there is sound judgement in the decision for such an important decision,” Mancinelli said.

“The city manager has made it very clear they have the capacity to do the work they are asking us to let them do,” responded Nelson.

“Are we not paying attention to the Cuff report that stated, ‘It was a direct mistake to overload an employee with tourism and REAL?” Mancinelli went on to ask. “We’re about to do that again.”

Mancinelli then motioned to table the decision to a later date.

“REAL and Experience Regina, I have been told time and time again, should not be my priority,” he said in his motion. “This has been rushed and fought through too quickly without thought.”

“I do not want to splinter and harm my administration even further,” Mancinelli added.

His motion was defeated.

“This has been run and very short sighted,” Mancinelli went on to say. “My problem is not with administration.”

“My problem is with the mishandling of administration by those put in charge. I can’t even be a part of this vote,” he added before leaving the meeting prior to council’s approval.

“I’m not sure why [council] felt we couldn’t do it,” Anderson said. “But we can.”


The board of directors' term begins immediately and goes until July 31, 2024, giving the city the ability to search for a permanent board.

“I picked that time because of a mandate to come back to council with a report on what it could potentially look like to fold REAL into administration,” Anderson said. “Not only would we bring that forward but also look at the other MNP recommendations.”

Bob Hawkins remains council’s representative on the REAL board but will be replaced by Coun. Lori Bresciani on Jan. 1.

There is also a representative from the provincial government remaining in their position as a non-voting member on the board.

The changes bring the number of minimum members down from nine to seven. Council’s vote also amends the minimum number of voting directors from seven to three.

Although interim, the new board does have the ability to make staffing changes.

As of 12:30 p.m. Friday, a REAL spokesperson confirmed to CTV News all of the organizations leadership remains in office, including CEO Tim Reid.

“Tim Reid has been in the office all week and is here today. It is business as usual as we deliver CWA (Canadian Western Agribition),” the email read.

“All the great staff that are there new, are still there,” Anderson added.

She also said REAL’s VP of corporate services Roberta Engel would also assist the interim board in its duties.

REAL’s former board of directors unanimously submitted their resignations after city council voted 6-5 in favour of removing them from their positions. Top Stories

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