Next year city councillors should try homemade holiday cards
Last Christmas was just brutal for Vancouver City employees. There were rumours of layoffs swirling around 12th and Cambie and the place resembled a morgue more days than not. Everyone was on pins and needles waiting for the Vision council to announce how big the budget cuts would be and who would be impacted. Meanwhile City Manager Penny Ballem was telling the media that no stone would be left unturned when it came to saving costs. Everything was under review.
Well...a CityCaucus.com FOI reveals that while City employees were busy fretting over whether they would keep their jobs, elected officials were busy stuffing thousands of envelopes full of taxpayer funded Christmas cards. That's right, just as the Mayor was telling everyone the City was cutting all discretionary costs, city councillors were ordering $4,208.40 dollars worth of Christmas cards to send to friends and family. A total of 5,776 cards were printed by a company called Allegra Printers. Councillors were then entitled to mail each of those cards with the postage paid by the City.
Although the City Clerk's office could not tell us the exact amount of cards that actually had paid postage on them, they did confirm that 1600 of them were postmarked through the City Hall mail room. As for the remainder of the cards, that remains a mystery. It is likely the cards either didn't get sent out, or the councillors paid for the postage themselves.
Vision councillor Raymond Louie ordered the most cards of any councillor at 1000, followed closely behind by NPA councillor Suzanne Anton. It would appear Councillor Chow wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit or he decided to buy his own cards as he only requested staff to print a paltry 100 cards. We can confirm that Vision councillor Jang used up 270 postage stamps to send out part of his 500 cards allotment, while Anton charged the city for 800 stamps.
In the context of spending $377,000 dollars on Olympic tickets for elected officials and dignitaries, this story pales in comparison. But for the staff who just received their layoff notices last week, it's just another reason to be ticked off.
- post by Daniel