Sadhu Johnston hired as Vancouver's city manager

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      The former boy wonder of Chicago, Sadhu Johnston, has moved into the top administrative job on a permanent basis at Vancouver City Hall.

      Johnston came to Vancouver in 2009 as the deputy city manager not long after Gregor Robertson was elected mayor. Before that, Johnston was chief environmental officer to Chicago mayor Richard Daly.

      After council fired Penny Ballem as city manager last year, Johnston filled the position until a replacement was found.

      Today, the city issued a news release announcing that council had appointed Johnston after a four-month international search.

      "On behalf of Vancouver City Council, I am thrilled to announce that Sadhu Johnston is Vancouver's new city manager," Robertson said in the news release. "Sadhu has demonstrated outstanding leadership at both the local and international level and has helped drive innovation across the organization. Council believes that he has the right skillset and vision to help take Vancouver to the next level as we tackle our affordability challenges and make Vancouver an even better city to live in."

      Johnston's ascension to city manager suggests that council plans to continue blazing forward with its greenest-city initiatives.

      Vancouver council has already endorsed the goal of having the city 100 percent reliant on renewable energy. There have also been great strides forward in adapting to climate change and in promoting more energy-efficient buildings.

      However last year, Johnston angered marijuana activists by making it clear that the city would not tolerate the annual Cannabis Day festival outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Canada Day.

      During her tenure, Ballem was sometimes criticized for micromanaging issues and angering neighbourhood activists. Several senior staff left after she was hired.

      Others admired Ballem for her firm support of the healthy-city strategy and for recognizing the role that organizations like the Vancouver Public Library and temporary winter shelters can play in promoting a more livable city for low-income residents.