Thursday, December 18, 2008

Penny Ballem: Dancing With The Ones That Brung Her


At least that's the story according to Courier columnist and longtime Lotusland CivPol watcher Allen Garr:

(Ballem) may be loyal to those who brought her to this party; she will dance with the guys who brung her, to paraphrase former PM Brian Mulroney. But her most serious challenge will be to engender loyalty in her staff......

Which is all well and good as far as it goes.

But if there are staff members who crossed the line to push Dame Judy's agenda, especially those that helped keep it operating below the water line (eg. those that were apportioned pieces of the CFO's pie when Ms. Lo was shuffled off to Buffalo beginning last spring), I would rather see those folks standing on the outside looking in.

Anyway, Mr. Garr also suggests that the behind-the-scenes machinations that were done to put the Ballem hire in place long before Ms. Rogers was quickly and surgically removed from the City Manager's job last week appears to indicate that maybe, just maybe, the Visionistas actually do know what they are doing:

It would appear that our new mayor, Gregor Robertson, has a lot more under his kilt than his opponents have been willing to give him credit for......

{snippety doodle-dandy}

The decision to remove Rogers was discussed by Robertson and his closest advisers long before election day.

Regular readers would know that many of the reasons being mulled over were listed here a couple of weeks ago. A number of the players in the current administration had experiences with Rogers over the past six years since the days of former mayor Larry Campbell. Among other things, her behaviour and the memos she wrote during the civic strike did not score her any points.

This new gang is planning a significant change in style and direction, and there's no faster way to do that than by changing the senior manager. This may be uncommon, but it isn't unanticipated. Look at the Vancouver Charter. Along with the chief financial officer, the city clerk and the city treasurer, she is a direct hire of council.

What allowed for the decision on Rogers to be made so quickly was Ballem telling Vision she was available long before the election results were known.

Both Robertson and his chief of staff Mike Magee met with her before Vancouverites went to the polls. Following the election and before the inauguration, Robertson and Magee nailed down an agreement with Ballem.

Then Magee sat down with Rogers to work out the deal that would see her leave. Her severance, based on a provincially legislated formula, is the equivalent of 18 months in salary and benefits. That's something just south of $500,000 by my figuring.

Of course, the good folks who are still pining for Smilin' Sammy's lost fjords over at the City Caucus group blog-thingy think it's all a sinister plot to be eviliciously efficient in both word and deed. As, of course, does Ms. Always Campaigning.*

Or some such thing.


*And I'll actually give Ms. Anton's bleating some credence if and when His Gregoriousness trys to shut her out of any and all committee assignments like she and hers did to the other side last time around.
FABula's Globe and (nolongerEmpire)Mail story from yesterday, overall, also appears to further support the 'these folks might actually know what they're doing' hypothesis.....


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