Vision Vancouver hires privatization specialist

Nelms to helm city hall's project and quality management after election

Look what one of my city hall sources sent me: An appointment notice penned by the chief engineer to all staff about the appointment of a new senior executive with a provocative professional pedigree that foreshadows major changes at Vancouver city hall under the regime of Mayor Gregor Robertson and his handpicked city manager, Penny Ballem.

October 27, 2014 1:24 PM

ENG All Staff (COV) – DL

I am excited to announce that Cheryl Nelms will be joining the City as the new Director of Project and Quality Management in late November.

Cheryl is an experienced public sector leader and a professional engineer (PhD in Civil Engineering – Project Management), who is currently the acting Director of PWGSC (Public Works and Government Services Canada), Public Private Partnership National Center of Expertise.

She has an impressive track record in project and financial management, change management and quality management. Cheryl brings profound experience in the implementation of capital projects, including public private partrnerships, and has a strong background in collaborating with industry, academia and all levels of government.

One of Cheryl’s recent accomplishments was leading the

Cheryl Nelms
Cheryl Nelms

development/establishment of the Federal Government’s project management best practices, which resulted in risk management processes, value for money guidelines, project agreement and business case templates, and oversight practices adopted by Federal agencies including Treasury Board Secretariat.

While very experienced in project management practices at the highest level, Cheryl also has extensive experience managing projects that we would typically encounter at the City.

This is a tremendous opportunity for us to learn from Cheryl and to have her guide us through our own transformation in project and quality management.

Please join me in welcoming Cheryl to the City of Vancouver


Peter Judd

This, not even two weeks after I broke the story that Vision Vancouver candidates went to a meeting of the city’s outside workers union to promise no contracting out and then were pledged a $102,000 campaign donation. This has become the biggest controversy of the election campaign so far, with NPA challenger Kirk LaPointe using it to call Vision Vancouver corrupt. Vision Vancouver-supporting union CUPE opposes privatization and published this primer and list of links to studies that found there are substantially more benefits of public private partnerships to private corporations than for taxpayers and workers.

Interesting how Judd’s memo doesn’t mention Nelms had a previous relationship with City of Vancouver and its highly secretive procurement process. This biography below from The Public Sector P in P3s, May 21, 2014 in Edmonton tells you more about the federal projects she has worked on, under the privatization-friendly Harper Conservatives.

Dr. Cheryl Nelms, Senior Advisor for Projects, RCMP E Division, Public Works and Government Services Canada

Cheryl Nelms of Vancouver, B.C., is a Professional Engineer with a PhD in Civil Engineering, Construction and Project Management from the University of British Columbia. She is the A/Director of Public Works and Government Services Canada’s P3 National Centre of Expertise. Dr. Nelms has extensive experience in P3 and alternative procurement deal structuring. She has provided advice on a broad range of important federal investments including, the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and the RCMP E Division Headquarters Relocation Project. Her vast experience in engineering and project management has led to invitations to speak at international conferences, teach undergraduate and graduate courses, and participate on national committees.

Dr. Nelms is a founding member of the Women’s Infrastructure Network Steering Committee (Western Canada), a member of the External Committee on Procurement for the City of Vancouver, a member of the Board of Directors for the Real Property Institute of Canada, and serves as Vice-Chair on the Board of MOSAIC, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting new im- migrants and refugees.

I’m always glad to have more city hall sources who want to share information… sources inside any public body, for that matter. Email me in confidence: bob (at) bobmackin (dot) ca



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