Vancouver’s new city manager, Penny Ballem, instructed the office of cultural affairs to take down its job postings for seven cultural planners.
The job postings seeking planners for public art, culture-plan implementation, partnerships and promotions, facilities development, and outreach were posted on the city’s job board but were removed December 19.
“They’re just off at the request of the city manager on a temporary basis,” said Sue Harvey, managing director of cultural services, adding, “We’re hoping to put them back up.”
The seven positions, with salaries ranging from $63,808 to $93,193 per year, were approved by the previous council in June 2008. The new planners were to help implement the city’s new 15-year culture plan, which calls for changes to programs for grants, public art, arts facilities, and cultural tourism.
Without the seven new staffers, Harvey conceded the plan’s implementation might be slowed down.
“We’re working on a whole host of initiatives that were approved by council. However, there are some of them that were dependent on having the staff to implement,” she said.
Joseph Li, spokesperson for the City of Vancouver, said the decision to withdraw the planner positions was made because council is currently exploring different models of arm’s length arts councils.
“City council has asked for a report on other models for delivering cultural services, and this decision was made not to fill the positions in advance of that report,” Li said.