Did you hear any guffaws when the mayor condemned attacks on city staff?
As I was reading Yolande Cole's article on the latest controversy at Vancouver City Hall, I stopped in my tracks over a comment by Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“In our code of conduct it’s very clear that...you have no right to attack city staff," Robertson told Green councillor Adriane Carr, "and I’ve been very concerned about your comments in recent days and again here regarding the city clerk and city manager and the work that they’re doing to support council.”
Hmmm...isn't this the same Vision Vancouver council that has overseen the greatest turnover in senior staff in living memory?
I guess that's not construed as an "attack on city staff" when people vote with their feet or they're fired and given fat settlements.
It started with the former city manager Judy Rogers.
On election night in 2008, Coun. Raymond Louie issued an assurance that Rogers's job was safe. Less than a month later, she was sent packing.
The two deputy city managers, James Ridge and Jody Andrews, later left. The general manager of Olympic operations, Dave Rudberg, quit before the Olympics even took place. The fire chief, Ray Holdgate, also resigned.
That's not all. The general manager overseeing the park system, Susan Mundick, quit. The chief librarian, Paul Whitney, resigned.
The official in charge of city freedom-of-information requests, Paul Hancock, quit. The head of engineering services, Tom Timm, quit. The chief electrician, Ark Tsisserev, was dismissed and then settled a pending legal case with the city. And Mike Zora, who was in charge of human resources, quit.
One of the highest profile dismissals involved Brent Toderian who, it must be emphasized, was not fired for cause.
More recently, deputy city manager Dave McLellan announced his retirement. Ken Bayne, general manager of business planning and services, announced his retirement near the end of 2011.
There's even a Twitter account @insiderDoug by a person purporting to be a "Long-time City of Vancouver Staffer without the freedom to say what he thinks with his real face, but who's worried about Vancouver City Hall".
But in spite of all of this, we can rest assured—thanks to the mayor's statement—that Vision Vancouver politicians don't attack senior city staff.
They just contribute to an environment that makes them want to run for the exit door.