A humiliated looking Capt. George Vancouver gets a makeover from council
CityCaucus.com has been contacted by irate employees at Vancouver City Hall, who sent us this invitation for a party to be thrown by the City of Vancouver for up to 9000 city employees as a "thank you" for helping to stage the Olympics. Vancouver city staff were seconded from their regular day-to-day activities to staff venues such as the city's Live Sites. These were not volunteer positions, as staff still received their full salaries for working in the new venues.
The 4-hour private party to be held April 15th at the Olympic Athlete's Village within the renovated Salt Building, will provide complimentary food and beverages, prize draws and a no-host bar. According to sources the budget for all the free goodies and staging the event is $34,000. It's being referred to by some as a suck up to staff for scaring the bejeezus out of them with threats of layoffs for the past six months.
Part of the event will be the so-called "Victory Celebration" that will be a big shout out to staff undoubtedly with City Manager Penny Ballem and Mayor Gregor Robertson at centre stage. It's widely recognized that many folks contributed to the success of the Olympics, including Vancouver's civil service. We here at CityCaucus.com proposed that perhaps a party should be held for volunteers, and not necessarily paid employees who probably realize that every dollar spent feting themselves is one not going to public service, nor one that perhaps might make their job easier.
With all the service cuts and tortuous debate around restraint we've gone through since last year, why does the city feel all of a sudden that it can afford to spend tax dollars throwing an exclusive party for staff? After posting a significant deficit, increasing taxes and fees across the board, and laying off several staff and valuable contract employees, many at the Hall are asking if this is the time to be spending tax dollars on non-essential items like a huge staff party.
After all, didn't the city just spend millions on a much bigger party? And there are more taxpayer funded parties coming that we will be reporting on in upcoming post. Of course, most of us remember Vision's first extravagent $85,000 inaugural party staged for political friends and insiders.
We're pretty sure the public, and our readers will have something to say on this story. Be sure to check out GlobalTV tonight at 6pm, who will have further details on this breaking story.
UPDATE: City Manager Penny Ballem was quoted on GlobalTV tonight that the reported $34,000 budget is a "drop in the bucket" and totally justified. Notably, $34,000 was the "drop in a bucket" that Ms. Ballem was paid for just under two week's worth of work for eHealth Ontario. Why Ms. Ballem spoke to the media tonight regarding the party, and no one from city council was accountable is a question we should all be asking Mayor Robertson.