Ballem: don't blame me for the number of staff walking down Retirement Lane
Vancouver City Manager Penny Ballem is said to be "fighting back" against critics who suggest its her controlling style that might be causing the slew of unexpected departures in recent months. Says Gregor Robertson's hand-picked head of the civil service to CKNW's Janet Brown, most are close to retirement anyway and they've just "had enough" of their job.
In a statement reminiscent of her accusation of (former General Manager of Olympic Operations) Dave Rudberg being "too grumpy" to continue on, Ballem keeps digging herself deeper by suggesting that her managers just don't have enough jam left to keep up with city hall's new order:
You know basically all the challenges of an economy, you know, that is creating lots more challenges than we've had to deal with in this province over the last few years. People who are near retirement are, you know, always go through that process of thinking, 'Gee, you know, do I really wanna have to, you know, engage in some of these, in solving some of these difficult problems.'
So here we are, five months out from hosting the world in the biggest party in the city's history, and the top talent are bailing out like they were Kanye West's publicists. News of Vancouver's little crisis in hanging onto key leadership appears to be traveling past Boundary Road, as Ottawa Citizen columnist David Reevely has taken note and shared it with his readers also.
Ballem's spin notwithstanding, we're hearing from our sources that Penny's style is one of the root causes for the current death spiral at the Hall, along with the depressing economic realities.
One "semi-retirement" not noticed by City Hall Watchers is that of the Courier's Allen Garr, who as of this week appears to have had his column cut back to one day per week. Garr is mockingly referred to by many as the 9th member of Vision Vancouver's city council caucus, and critics have wondered when he would finally ditch his column for beekeeping full time. Commenter "Evil Eye" is blunt:
Garr is just a "grump" who skewered Sam (the unwise) Sullivan, but now with is Vision/NDP pals in office, he has little to say.
We don't know why Allen is scaling back, but he must be somewhat satisfied that a political organization he supports is now governing the city. To be sure, it's a setback for the Mayor's office, who rely upon Garr's Courier column to get their message out.
Perhaps Ballem's theory about retirement also applies to columnists, and Garr's asking himself, 'Gee, you know, do I really wanna have to, you know, write about these guys still?'