September 28th, 2021

Robert Dumanowski: 20 years in, Dumanowski still eager

By COLLIN GALLANT on September 3, 2021.

Robert Dumanowski, a local school principal and the city's longest serving councillor, will seek yet another term this fall.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

Medicine Hat’s longest continually serving city councillor will seek another term this fall.

Robert Dumanowski tells the News he has enjoyed support from a broad demographic in the past, will stand on his record and still has enthusiasm for the job.

“I’ve tried to take every issue seriously, reflect on it and look for the best outcome that matches the spirit of our community,” said Dumanowski, 50, who was first elected to council in 2001.

The race currently features more than two dozen registered candidates vying for eight seats, many campaigning on platforms calling for widespread change on council.

“I probably felt the same when I first entered public service,” he said. “You don’t want to discount that … but I’ve never felt part of an ‘old boys club.'”

Dumanowski, a school principal in his private career, currently chairs the city’s corporate services committee, which over the last several years has rearranged the city’s dividend policy and reserve spending priorities.

This past term he also chaired the development and infrastructure committee, which was disbanded during a corporate reorganization, and the responsibilities melded with the utility department.

He was one of the leading voices for bringing in a local mask bylaw in late 2020.

Council also voted in a substantial budget cut to maintain taxation level while shrinking the size of a budget gap that has been paid for by reserve funds.

Dumanowski says city operations are changing.

“We’ve had to make some decisions that were neither desirable or wanted, but the city has to adapt and I’ve worked to keep this city progressive and moving forward,” he said, adding his belief that a balanced city budget, combined with growth in a new land and hydrogen-focused industrial plan could produce strong growth ahead.

“It’s going to be extremely positive, and I believe we’re on the cusp of some big things.”

The city was also the focus of criticism last winter when it studied the value of the city power plant in relation to potentially selling it to private-sector interest.

“My position has always supported strong, publicly owned utilities,” he said. “That’s my starting point, but you have to examine current market and outlook … If there’s a change there would have to be significant evidence and a significant public information campaign to get support.”

Dumanowski is the fifth of eight sitting councillors to announce re-election bids.

Election day is Oct. 18.

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