Gregor Robertson claims no knowledge of the firing of one of his direct reports
On this morning's Bill Good Show featuring guest host Michael Smyth, Mayor Gregor Robertson took questions from open line callers. The final caller threw a curve ball question about the recent dismissal of Chief Electrical Inspector (officially titled "City Electrician") Arkady Tsisserev, asking the Mayor about the "illegal" firing of this senior bureaucrat.
Back on February 7th, Mayor Robertson was interviewed by CTV's Lisa Rossington about Tsisserev's dismissal. You can see it in their news clip that Robertson's response was to plead ignorance, saying "I'm too busy with Olympic preparations to deal with human resources issues." For weeks, political commentator Alex Tsakumis has doggedly reported on Tsisserev's firing, and has been particularly critical of both Robertson and City Manager Penny Ballem, and the overall lack of media interest in this story.
Ballem, Tsakumis writes, was constantly changing her stories as to the reason why the Mayor and his colleagues had fired the Chief Electrician. First it was stated that he had retired. But Tsisserev had been marched to the door with virtually no notice of his dismissal, as described in Allen Garr's column from today. Tsisserev was reportedly very shortly about to retire. Next Ballem said that he was being let go due to budgetary restraints, but later on the City Manager claimed that the City's plan for layoffs had been radically cut back.
The City of Vancouver's Chief Electrician is a direct report to Mayor and Council. Like the City Manager, the position is only one of a handful where the Mayor actually does the hiring and firing. Tsisserev's dismissal happened just over a month ago and the decision was made in-camera by Robertson and his council.
So you have to wonder about his response to a direct question on-air this morning. Here is the exchange – or you can listen to the full clip below.
Caller: "What are you going to be doing about addressing the illegal dismissal of Arkady Tsisserev?"
Robertson: "It's human resources department dealing with this, and those are decisions made by staff. I don't have any inside knowledge of what exactly has taken place there..."
One of two scenarios result from Roberton's reply. He either was not telling the truth, or he is unaware of a decision that he signed off on just a few weeks ago. Remember, he was asked directly five weeks ago about this by CTV.
It's time that Mayor Robertson comes clean on this controversy once and for all, and stops trying to hide behind the City Manager. Vancouver City Council hires and fires the Chief Electrician – full stop. Mayor Robertson, did you or did you not participate in an in-camera decision to fire Ark Tsisserev?
- post by Mike