Fallen soldiers at Vancouver City Hall remembered for their efforts

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

10 comments

empty desk
The empty desk has come to symbolize the "fallen soldiers" at City Hall

With the Olympics now a memory, the dust is beginning to settle at Vancouver City Hall. Staff are coming back to their normal work assignments and the job of getting everything back up and running has begun. You can expect it will take at least a couple of months before the whole machine is fully operational again.

Looking back at the Games, there were a lot of people at City Hall that worked to make them a success. Unfortunately, before the Olympic flame was even lit, many of them were either fired or they "voluntarily" chose to leave before the Games got underway. They're known in some quarters of City Hall as the "fallen soldiers". In many instances, they were casualties of a new regime hell-bent on carpet bombing the upper ranks in order to send a clear message they are all about "change".

I knew many of them personally and they indicated to me at one point or another they had every intention of sticking around until the Games were over. In fact, a few stated they were postponing retirement to ensure they could be working for the City during the Games. For some of the younger employees, many of them left because they were simply fed-up with the deteriorating working conditions being imposed upon them from upstairs. Can you say "nano-management"?

In no particular order, here is a partial list of the key City staff who have vacated their offices over the last 12 months or so:

Dave Rudberg: Dave was in charge of the 2010 Olympic operations when he suddenly announced his "retirement". City Manager Penny Ballem issued a statement indicating that on the eve of hosting the Games, Rudberg had decided to spend more time with his grandchildren.

Tom Timm: As Chief Engineer, he was one of the most senior employees at Vancouver City Hall. Tom recently announced he was calling it quits. Many thought he still had quite a few more productive years left in him before retirement. His departure was a 7.0 on the Richter scale and is considered a big loss to Vancouver.

James Ridge: He previously worked in North Vancouver and was a career public servant before joining the City of Vancouver in 2007. He came highly recommended and was seen as a possible replacement for Judy Rogers when she retired. James announced last year that he was quitting and even took a lower paying job at UBC.

Jody Andrews: He worked his way up the ranks and became Vancouver's Deputy City Manager. He was well liked by almost everyone at City Hall and was a real up and comer. He managed the Olympic Village project which became the showcase development during the Games. Mayor Robertson recently announced it won an award as one of the most sustainable neighbourhoods. Jody quit his job and is now working in the Middle East.

Patsy Sheer: She was one of the senior lawyers in Vancouver and was always pleasant to deal with. Shortly after Vision took office, Patsy announced that she was leaving her post at City Hall.

Judy Rogers: One of the first acts of the Vision council was to fire former City Manager Judy Rogers. Countless magazines and media publications referred to her as one of the brightest public servants in the province. She ended up receiving over half a million dollars in severance and had a gag clause imposed upon her as part of the agreement.

Ark Tsisserev: Up until January 21st, 2010, Ark worked as the City's Chief Electrical Inspector. Mayor Robertson then chaired a meeting in which Ark was removed from his post. Soon after senior staff took away his laptop and keys and brought him to the front door. He then hired a lawyer and settled out of court with the city for an undisclosed amount of money. Questions remain as to what led to his dismissal.

Sue Mundick: Rumours persisted for months prior to her departure that Mundick was fed up with all the nano-managing coming out of the City Manager's office. Then only months before the Games, she finally announced she was leaving City Hall for good. The debate rages over at the Park Board as to whether they have any autonomy left under this new Vision government.

Donald Macpherson: He was the architect of the City's internationally acclaimed Four Pillars Drug Strategy which is now being emulated around the world. He called it quits and announced he was going to work in the private sector. This was shortly after a decision was made to restructure his department and give it a much lower profile within City Hall. As a result, the Four Pillars Strategy is now in tatters.

Cameron Gray: He was the top guy in the City responsible for ending homelessness through the construction of new social housing. You could argue that he was simply about to retire regardless of which government was in power. However, his departure came at a time when the new Vision government announced it wanted to make homelessness a top priority. Gray was known to oppose a quick fix policy of simply pouring dollars into expanding shelters, favouring a focus on long-term housing solutions instead.

Mike Zora: As Human Resources Manager for the City during the 2007 labour dispute, he was regularly under attack by the CUPE leadership in Vancouver. Mike announced that he was packing up his bags in 2009.

Kevin Ramsay: He took over from Zora to become the City's new head of Human Resources. He wasn't in the position long before shocking everyone with his announcement that he was quitting to accept the position of Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Squamish. If I recall correctly, he left just after the decision came down from Vision to pull Vancouver out of the Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau.

A big THANK YOU from CityCaucus.com goes out to all the city staff (both currently employed and departed) who helped make the Games a real success! I understand that many of you put in countless hours and spent time away from your families over the last number of years to make this event a reality. You deserve a lot of credit for all the work you did both on site and behind the scenes! Kudos to all of you.

- post by Daniel

10 Comments

Daniel,

Having worked with you at city hall I can personally say that most people here thought you were a total dweeb. Stop with your inauthentic declarations of all your friends here at city hall as if you had some special kinship with us. You were a total flake and light weight in your office. And please stop harrassing the staff with your constant dweeby phone calls, we're sick of you!!!!

Now now, Tim...no name calling needed. Daniel was indeed well liked by many at the hall. Not sure what you're basing your info on nor can you speak for everybody at the hall! Heck, I don't even know you yet I've also worked with Daniel! The thing that many (ok, not you) like about Daniel is that he's reporting facts that are going on behind those four bland walls. Continue on, Daniel...

Rachel, I too work at city hall and am a regular reader of this blog. I also happened to run into Daniel on occasion, although he may not remember me. He was more than courteous and certainly had a great reputation at the hall. Can't say I liked his boss much, but his door was always open. I agree with Rachel that you're probably a vision sympathizer who simply doesn't like the kind of exposure Daniel is putting on this blog. I talk to many people at city hall who think city caucus is the only thing that keeps us going when things turn even darker by the day. I applaud this site and encourage Daniel to ignore your ignorant remarks and consider them for what they're worth. Keep up the good work.

PS loved your free guide on the olympics!

Actually Tim might want to think twice about the comments he leaves on the various blogs that cover city politics.

Inevitably there WILL be a regime change and his buddies at vision will be in no shape to protect his job, not being in office and all.

If he really thinks that his inflammatory comments about everyone and everything who disagrees with his point of view is not "evaluation material", then he'll be sadly mistaken one day in 2012.

As somebody who just pays taxes I find the bickering on these comments (from both sides) pathetic. "you were a total dweeb","his buddies at vision will be in no shape to protect his job",
is it too much to ask that the people who work at City Hall concentrate on serving the people of Vancouver rather than their own petty grudges?

What's with all these 'city employees' posting at 9am?!? GET TO WORK!

Are you telling me there is actually an employee at city hall named Tim Latanville who is using city resources to put this kind of bull$$t on a public blog? Is this a fact?

I thought that was a fake name. Boy, if this is true this guy has some kahunchkas. So much for city hall being a "non-partisan" workplace. I don't agree the NPA should can him when they get back into power, but his supervisor should be asking some tough questions. As a tax payer, I can't believe what I'm reading. Apparently he regularly posts on other blogs too? Which are those? I may just have to call up my city councillor and complain that city staff obviously don't have enough to do with themselves.

I just read that Tim's original email was actually 8:46 pm not am. But that doesn't justify his politiking on this site by evening, then claiming to be open and fair by day. Can't have it both ways my friend. I'd suggest you chill out on the nasty comments and focus on your job.

"Fallen soldiers" is just a bit over the top and actually is not that respectful of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. At best, these people are retired or laid off "soldiers".

Given the state of the city when the new council with the Olympic Village mess, it is really hard to argue that some of these people were doing a great job.

For the incoming mayor and council, it would also be reasonable that staff and the previous council had some plans in place to deal with a big snow storm especially with the Winter Olympics coming in a year but look what happened. Yet you somehow expected the new council to fix everything in a couple of weeks in office including planning for a big snow storm and buying all the equipment and supplies that would be needed to implement that plan.

@ricky. Your comment is completely incomprehensible. Are you smokin something there on cortez island? What are you talking about when you bring up the issue of snow removal in this post. As for the Olympic Village mess, are you referring to the same development that just won an award as the most sustainable community in North America? Or the same development that was built on time and was the jewel of the Olympics? Oh yeah, that terrible mess known as the olympic village that is going to sell as hotcakes now that the real estate market has picked up. What a mess indeed. Vision didn't lift a finger to help build that village. Jody deserves more of the credit than Robertson and company. That's a fact.

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