Now that Vancouver's City Manager has been fired by Vision Vancouver Mayor Robertson, it's becoming abundantly clear that the terms of her severance package are being considered "confidential" and won't be disclosed to the taxpayers of Vancouver any time soon.
Of course the Mayor and City officials will hide behind the veil of "privacy" when it comes to why they won't release details related to a 'personnel' issue. But wasn't this the Mayor that got elected only a few weeks ago on a platform of openness, transparency and no more secret 'in-camera' decisions with big consequences for Vancouver's bottom line?
Already Mayor Robertson and his Vision council are reneging on that set of promises. In his first week in office, he has already held two 'in-camera' meetings. One to fire the City Manager and the other to discuss the controversial Olympic village development.
In the case of firing the City Manager, NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton claims she knew nothing of this backroom deal until she walked into the in-camera meeting. Normally all councillors are provided with background information in advance of in-camera meetings in order that they can determine how they are going to vote.
Despite having many opportunities to do so, Anton states that neither the Mayor or his staff bothered to follow normal procedure and give her a heads up regarding the firing of the city manager.
It is safe to guess that with over 20 years of service under her belt, the severance package offer to the former city manager was at least $400K (and that's a conservative figure) in order to get her to go quietly. Some are speculating the figure could be much higher than that. Unfortunately, due to the fact the details of the severance package remain under wraps, all taxpayers can do is speculate.
The citizens of Vancouver should demand to know what this is costing them.
Regardless of how much the severance package was, the core issue remains that taxpayers deserve the right to know how much of their money has been spent to fire the city manager. If the Mayor refuses to provide the public with this information, it will be one of the first broken promises by his civic administration.
FOOTNOTE: Some media reports are speculating the Rogers got fired because of her handling of the Olympic village controversy. With tongue firmly planted in cheek...we ask, if that is the case, will her severance package be considered as a part of the "cost" of staging the Games? We're expecting to hear from the Olympic Games Critic Harry Bains on that question soon.