|Penny Ballem: unelected and uncompromising?|
City manager Penny Ballem is the top-paid civic employee, at $334,002 for 2011. She was hired, without competition, to replace the fired Judy Rogers in December 2008. Rogers got a $572,000 golden parachute, because the Vision Vancouver administration felt she was an NPA-loyalist.
In February 2011, Ballem excused Olympic Village developer Millennium from its mortgage, which once was worth $1 billion. She later admitted city taxpayers would lose $48 million on the Village, but downplayed the claims of those who said the loss was in the range of $200 million.
“I apologize that I haven’t had a chance to talk to you today about your motion – I just signed off the Council Agenda at about 6pm. Your motion presents a significant issue and given our last conversation about a motion which was a problem I thought I would send you a note. First, the GM of Park Board reports to the Park Board – if you wish to have a report to Council it should be directed to me to bring back.
“The more important issue is that the Park Board instructed their GM to continue negotiations on a new contract with the CCAs. It would put both the Park Board and the City at risk if there was an airing of these issues in regard to impact publicly. To reassure you there is work underway to ensure that the PB staff appropriately manage any risk in these negotiations. However for this reason the motion is out of order and I will not be allowing it to go out with the agenda. I have reviewed this with the City Solicitor and the Clerk. Please give me a call any time tonight if you get a break or first thing in the am. I am happy to discuss. Thanks so much pb”
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.