Another day, another $30,000 Olympic party in Vancouver

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

19 comments

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Not everyone at Vancouver City Hall appears in a celebratory mood

Last week CityCaucus.com broke the story regarding the Mayor and council spending $34,000 (plus staff time) to throw an Olympic party for 9000+ city staff. In terms of the City hosting a big bash to thank all the "blue coat" volunteers...well, we're still waiting for that announcement. If you're not familiar with the "blue coats", they're the thousands of people who volunteered their time (many of them taking unpaid leave) to make the Games a great success.

We've now received a tip from a disgruntled City of Vancouver employee who advises us that the Mayor is planning yet another costly Olympic party – beyond the one we told you about last week. According to our source, this party is taking place on May 15th and will cost taxpayers up to $30,000. What's the occasion? The Mayor, VANOC and the Athletes Village developer are getting together for a "hand back" ceremony. VANOC will officially turn over the keys of the Village back to the City of Vancouver. As opposed to the staff only party the Mayor will be throwing this week, the public is permitted to join Robertson and his Vision crew at this media event.

What has many folks at City Hall rolling their eyes is not so much the cost of this event, but rather, it's the fact the City had to hire an outside consultant at $15,000 to plan it. Why would you need an outside consultant when there are at least three staff in the protocol office sitting idle (council is about to shut this office down soon and lay off staff) and a full complement of communications staff hired to do this kind of thing? Why not put them to work instead and save taxpayers the consultant's fee? According to our insider, the City has hired consultant Kim Sanderson (she used to work for the City but is now an independent contractor) at a fee of up to $15,000, to organize the event.

Over the last several months we've all watched as Vision's majority on council implemented a series of cutbacks at City Hall which resulted in layoffs. We're now watching the Vision majority at the Vancouver School Board "slash and burn" bridges with Victoria on their way to a balanced budget. All the while, Council is hiring external contractors to throw another costly Olympic Village party (is it just a drop in the bucket?) in addition to spending $34,000 on an Olympic staff celebration party.

We have it under good authority that despite the current hiring freeze, the City Manager's office has been on a real tear when it comes to signing contracts with external consultants. Several city insiders insist these contracts are not only bloated and a total waste of money, they have resulted in some of the contractors eventually becoming employees of the city. We've place several FOIs in this regard and we will report back to you once we can substantiate what we've been told.

It should be noted that just before Christmas Vision gave the City Manager extraordinary latitude (some call it a pre-Christmas gift) when it comes to signing untendered contracts without having to obtain pre-approval from the politicians. Not long after she started, Ballem landed herself in hot water when she signed two untendered contracts valued at $30,000 each with Hoggan and Associates. At the time, it was Council policy that she obtain council approval prior to the expenditure.

With the big Olympic party now over, city staff are realizing the road ahead for them is quite grim. Next year's budget is looking like it will be a significant challenge and could well result in even more layoffs and cutbacks. Let's just hope the people attending the Mayor's Olympic Village bash on May 15th realize that while everyone is partying seaside, up the hill at 12th and Cambie there remains a pretty toxic work environment.

19 Comments

If you don't like this expenditure "tough eh". This $30,000 is but a "drop in the bucket" at city hall. Who cares about a few "pennies" here or there. Sad, but true.

As long as there is no effective opposition to Vision, this sort of nonsense will continue. Who will replace Vision at the next civic election?

"Tough, eh" - Big Buckets Ballem

isn't the amount spent on these 2 parties about the same amount of money that the Special Events department is facing as a shortfall? If it is just a drop in the bucket, why are they raising all the fees to cover it?

It is only a drop in the bucket when convenient.

Good thing 'shockedtaxpayer' doesn't know that these costs likely do not include any of the staff time being spent on these (and other) initiatives... [whoops! Did I say that out loud?]

Get out your calculator:

Severance packages + Bike lanes on 2 bridges + 2 parties + Chicken coop including annual operating costs + Mayor's carrot garden + Outside consultants + Mayor's marketing department + Spiffing up the Mayor's office + Ballem's office + + + = A lot of buckets == 1 BIG BUCKET ===
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ==== A LOT OF JOBS WITH PEOPLE WITH FAMILIES / LIBRARIES / COMMUNITY CENTRES / BLOEDEL CONSERVATORY / CHILDREN'S FARMYARD

@Bill. You forgot to mention the $89,000 that Vision spent unnecessarily on a silly inaugural ceremony back in 2008. Another private party for friends and insiders.

The Thought of The Day

“One Scared Chicken in the City + One Dropped Penny in a Bucket= Vision Bucket Sale”

BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE MELANCHOLIC MAYORAL SANDWICH.

Sounds like Middle Finger lickin’ good to me!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hscJq2zZTs

ASK PENNY & GREGOR... segment

“If Leonardo named his Sistine Chapel mural: “The Last Supper”, would it be fair to call my Salt Building graffiti: “The Last Party”?”

Just asking.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

"the City has hired consultant Kim Sanderson "

Is she a Hollyhock Alumni ?

I'd like to know why Bob Rennie isn't the one paying for this party?

Is he not the guy that's going to make a whole whack of dough selling these shoddily built, and improperly inspected units at the OV to unsuspecting foreign (Asian) buyers?

So I think it's time for Bob to pony up the cash for this "key returning" ceremony instead of the Vancouver taxpayer.

Can anyone tell me how much he donated to Vision's campaign to date, or is that still a state secret?

$15,000 to hire an outside consultant to organize a special event? Really?

Ms Ballem let me introduce you to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. It is actually a department under your purview. Amongst it's staff are those who plan special events on a regular basis. Surely one of them who "volunteered" at a live site would have been happy to "volunteer" to plan this city staff "volunteer" thank you party.

This expenditure wreaks of the Protocol section of City Hall. If there is one free spending no holds barred group in City Hall it is them.

If you Google 'Kim Sanderson' she seems to have a very 'green' background. (Surprising)

As for event planning - I guess it will cost us $15,000 to find out if she has any talent.

vision is going to legalize cocaine ,hookers,meth, shootin` junk in playgrounds, and bring in the hst

From what I've been hearing, that price quote is "old" news and she won't be that expensive. It's just unfortunate that she's being dragged into this like she's part of the problem when she's been asked, from I've also heard, to do business with the City. I know that she's done business with the City before and there isn't much mentioned of her online.

I think it matters little that her contract won't be a full $15,000. The real question is why the city needs an external consultant to organize a party in the first place. With 9000 staff, is there not anyone available to help with this kind of thing? Even if she only charges $10,000, it's still money that could have been invested in keeping the homeless shelters open instead.

So very true. So very true. Does anybody sees the job duplication here?

I have it on pretty good authority that they will be showing this video at the party:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmyz_f8Sx14&feature=related

UPDATE: They may not show the whole video.

They may only show the clip starting at 2:02

"The 3,000 meter race for people who think they are chickens"

You know that this is beside another event taking place onsite. Did you see the ads for Millennium's Avenues of the World? I wonder how much Millennium will be spending on their portion of the event? Hhmm, could they be using the city's money? Now THAT is something that ticks me off!

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