The loss of their star player has exposed Vision's lack of bench strength
This morning on CKNW's Bill Good Show, the civic affairs panel was convened to discuss the topics of the day. You'd think there would be a bit of interest in exploring the curious affair surrounding Vancouver's former Chief Electrician, the scandal dubbed "Gregorgate". Not so much, however.
Fellow panelist Frances Bula was lukewarm regarding the story and stated she felt the Mayor had been consistent with his messaging – even if she didn't completely buy his version of the events. As for Jim Green (former Vision mayoral candidate), he made it quite clear he wanted to change the dial and talk about other issues.
There have been a bewildering list of changes to the narrative by Gregor Robertson and Penny Ballem since Tsisserev was frog marched from the building. First, we were told he retired. Then we're told he was let go due to "restructuring" to reduce costs. Now we find out he was dismissed and he's settled out of court. Which version of this story is the public to believe? I think most residents simply want the good honest truth.
Here are a few questions that need answers:
- Was the safety of individuals who visited any of the free Olympic pavilions put at risk due to Tsisserev's departure?
- How much did taxpayers shell out to the City's former Chief Electrician as part of an apparent out-of-court settlement?
- Was a gag clause slapped on Tsisserev which now prevents him from talking to the media?
- Was the Mayor briefed on Tsisserev's departure prior to the in-camera meeting where the axe came down?
Vision ran on a platform of making Vancouver Council more open and accountable. However, one of their first actions was to fire the City Manager then put a gag clause on her. Now we're told the Chief Electrician was shown the door and he too may have a gag clause. Is this really what Mayor Robertson and his Vision team refer to as an open and transparent government?
There are clearly many people who think the Mayor's handling of the Tsisserev issue is no cause for concern. Some are saying that this is just inside baseball, or "who cares if the Mayor lied about whether he knew anything regarding the Tsisserev dismissal"? For those of you who are aligned with this position, I need to ask whether you would have been as generous with either Larry Campbell or Sam Sullivan in the big chair?
Robertson needs to regroup and question the terrible communications advice he's been getting over the last few days. His strategy of "let's just hope this one goes away" is simply not working. And any attempt by the Mayor's office to portray Tsisserev in a negative light to the media will not only backfire, it could well open up the City to another potential lawsuit.
With the "real" Mayor, Geoff Meggs, still recovering from his cycling injury, Vision is beginning to show their lack of bench strength. Having Meggs out of commission is akin to the Canucks losing the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler and Luongo's goaltending all at the same time – there's not much left as a result. You can expect they won't be scoring too many goals any time soon and this will likely give their opponents a renewed sense of optimism.
The next test of the Mayor's commitment to openness and transparency will come next week at council. We're advised that NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton will be putting in a motion asking council to shed some light on who knew what and when regarding the Tsisserev dismissal. The mayor would be wise to support Anton's motion and demonstrate he has nothing to hide. Otherwise, you can expect this hockey game will be going into double overtime.