City of Vancouver pays Penny Ballem $556,000 in severance as Sadhu Johnston takes over as acting city manager

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      Mayor Gregor Robertson will hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m. today (September 15) to discuss the departure of Penny Ballem as city manager.

      In a news release, the mayor's office announced that Robertson and city council "have voted to initiate a senior leadership transition at City Hall".

      This came "with the conclusion of Dr. Penny Ballem's service at City Manager for the City of Vancouver, and the beginning of a comprehensive global search process for a new City Manager".

      Ballem, a former provincial deputy health minister, was hired shortly after Vision Vancouver won a majority in the 2008 election.

      She'll receive $556,000 in severance, according to the statement from the mayor's office.

      The acting city manager will be Sadhu Johnston, who was lured in 2009 from the City of Chicago to become deputy city manager.

      During her tenure, Ballem played a pivotal role in restructuring the Olympic Village debt, which resulted in Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties going into receivership.

      She was also city manager when the director of planning, Brent Toderian, was fired and replaced by Brian Jackson, who was given the title of general manager, planning and development.

      Jackson has already announced his retirement and will leave his post at the end of the year.

      In recent years under Ballem's leadership, the city has collected a massive amount of money through development cost levies. The city also aggressively promoted laneway housing and densification outside the downtown core.

      As city manager, she sometimes came under criticism for preventing many city staff from speaking to the media and for centralizing control in her office.

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      3 Comments

      Polly

      Sep 15, 2015 at 2:16pm

      Bye Felicia.

      Hank Guthrie

      Sep 15, 2015 at 2:53pm

      Wow, Gregor actually did something that everyone will likely agree on as the right move - for once.

      MannyHo

      Sep 15, 2015 at 3:26pm

      It's about time, she has been a poisonous influence at City Hall and despised by many of the professionals who work for the city. Let's hope her replacement isn't another dictator.