Outgoing General Manager of Engineering Services Tom Timm
Tom Timm, the head of the largest department at Vancouver City Hall, and arguably the most powerful bureaucrat as General Manager of Engineering Services, is leaving the building at the end of March. Tom was too shrewd and diplomatic to publicly reveal his personal feelings about the current Vision Vancouver regime and the nanomanaging Penny Ballem. Tom had a lot of gas left in his tank, but just couldn't take it anymore according to insiders.
Who will replace Timm? A "broad search" is underway according to Penny Ballem. The headhunting firm whose post office box is located at Manson's Landing, Cortes Island, is apparently working overtime to find someone who knows something about managing thousands of employees, building streets and sewers, is a powerful advocate for social change, and can sit comfortably in the lotus position.
Another vital job requirement is having a thick skin for the occasional brow-beating by the City Manager, and not minding when she whistles for you to report in her office.
Who will rise to the top job in the massive City Engineering department? It most certainly won't be Timm's Assistant City Engineer, the extremely bright and qualified Jerry Dobrovolny. Jerry has a huge target on his back from CUPE due to his work as spokesperson for management during their 2007 strike.
While we sound glib about whether someone from the Hollyhock crowd could fill the shoes, never underestimate the quest for social change led by Solomon, Newell and other acolytes of the Mayor through Vancouver's government. If there is someone who can fill this job with the right political pedigree, they're a shoo-in.
Here below is the email sent out by Timm himself on his departure, followed by Penny Ballem's message. Note that Tom coyly recognizes "the political leadership that the City has enjoyed over the years" as part of his success in the job. Interpret the statement as you will, but it's hardly a shout out to the folks running the City today.
From: Timm, Tom
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2010 3:17 PM
To: ENG All Staff (COV) - DL
Cc: Sanderson, Sherrill
Subject: FW: retirement
Please see the attached note from Dr. Ballem which announces my decision to retire from my position as City Engineer.
I am very proud of what Engineering Services, as a Department, and as part of the larger City organization, has been able to accomplish in helping to build what is widely recognized as the best City in the world to live. That recognition is a tribute to both the political leadership that the City has enjoyed over the years and to the excellent service that it has received from the administration and from all of our employees. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this organization.
We have also all rightly felt proud of our contributions to the huge success of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games which provided the opportunity for us to showcase Vancouver to the world. That event will certainly stand as the single largest highlight of my career with the City.
I would like to thank all of you who I have worked with for your efforts on behalf of the City, and for the support that you have given me, particularly over my past five years as City Engineer. I wish you all continued success as you work on behalf of the citizens of Vancouver to maintain the quality of life that sets this City apart.
From: Ballem, Penny
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2010 3:11 PM
To: Corporate Management Team (COV) - DL; Anton, Suzanne; Cadman, David; Chow, George; Coulson, Marg; Deal, Heather; Jang, Kerry; Louie, Raymond; Magee, Michael; Meggs, Geoff; Reimer, Andrea; Robertson, Gregor; Stevenson, Tim; Woodsworth, Ellen
Subject: FW: retirement
Having honored his commitment to guide Engineering through the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Tom Timm, our much beloved City Engineer, will be retiring at the end of March 2010.
Tom has been with the City since 1978. He has served in many roles over the years - mostly in engineering where he became an assistant city engineer in 1988, the deputy city engineer about 10 years later in 1999 and finally the city engineer and general manager of engineering in 2004. Some of you might have forgotten that he also served as the city building inspector for 2 years in the late 1990's. Tom has led numerous initiatives throughout his many years of service, and he leaves a number of important legacies behind, including many successes during the 2010 Games. We will all miss Tom's leadership, his wry sense of humour and his passion for the great Canadian Game.
The City will be undertaking a broad search process for Tom's replacement. I have asked Peter Judd, Deputy City Engineer, to assume responsibility for Engineering during this process. I know you will all join me in wishing Tom the very best in his retirement. As is the custom in Engineering, there will be a raucous celebration of his departure at a time and place to be decided!
- post by Mike