Vancouver's Freedom of Information officer quits

Post by Mike Klassen in ,

9 comments

sad-face
It's a sad day at City Hall at the news Paul Hancock has resigned

CityCaucus.com has learned that on Friday Vancouver's City Clerk responsible for Freedom of Information requests Paul Hancock, Manager, Corporate Information & Privacy, has tendered his resignation. It is believed that Hancock did not have another job opportunity when he made this decision.

The reaction from sources within inside City Hall is a sense of sadness. Hancock's reputation as one of the most honourable public servants is well-known. A lawyer by training, Hancock always sought to uphold the principles of the Freedom of Information act despite urging by the City Manager Penny Ballem to delay response times, and her practice of destroying records and deleting emails.

"I didn't work directly with Paul," says a City Hall insider. "However, it was well known how frustrated he had become working for this administration. In many respects he might have been too principled, and his life might have been easier if he was willing to play along with the politics."

Hancock was on the receiving end of Ballem's tirades, and remained dignified despite enormous pressure by the Vision Vancouver government to obscure and stifle access to information. Several FOI requests made by CityCaucus.com have been delayed for months, and we have at least one dispute still being processed by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in Victoria.

There is now speculation that all FOI requests will become the responsibility of the City's legal department, which the City Manager believes that she has more control over.

Paul Hancock was the very embodiment of a principled non-partisan member of the public service, and all citizens of Vancouver have benefited from his work. Some media have suggested to us that it was Hancock who was holding up their requests, but in fact it was the Mayor's office and the City Manager who were responsible. He will be greatly missed both at City Hall and by people here at CityCaucus Tower.

This continues an expanding list of senior management who have left their posts during this term of government, and leaving a vacuum of leadership and institutional knowledge. The list includes Judy Rogers, Tom Timm, Dave Rudberg, Jody Andrews, James Ridge, Sue Mundick, Ray Holdgate, Kevin Ramsay, Cameron Gray, Patsy Sheer, Arc Tsisserev, Donald MacPherson, Barb Windsor, Rhonda Howard, Piet Rutgers, Mike Zora and others.

- post by Mike

9 Comments

More smoke, more fire.

I guess he didnt play to the Vision tune. He is probably glad he is out of that zoo.

I want to say also that I am sorry Mr. Hancock personally has been put into the position where he apparently had no other option than to resign. This individual, in this position speaks volumes about what is going on behind the scenes @ City Hall. If the Manager, Corporate Information & Privacy cannot properly execute his responsibilities, who else can?

Paul was also the person candidates had give their paper work to in order to be on the ballot. He was a consummate professional. Always friendly, always fair, always quick to help. He will be missed.

I worked with Paul during my time at City Hall. He was a great employee and this is a BIG loss for the city. He was always professional and a straight shooter. Too bad he's leaving.

They've made Vancouver their zoo, where some animals are more equal than others. As an aside,does anybody actually believe that selling reserved seating to the fireworks will do anything more than provide a few perks to the organizers? Parks Board tonight, 7:00pm.

The next civic election should not simply be a referendum on the lack of transparency of Vision Vancouver but of the city manager too. Dictators have no place in a democracy.

A google search this afternoon brought me to this web site for the first time and I added a comment to an article from last May. Then I noticed this one.

I never met Paul Hancock, but on October 3 he was cc'd on an email I sent to the publiceyeonline web site. Here's the text of the first paragraph:


"Dear Mr. Holman,

I intend to write to Elizabeth Denham in response to the piece of
propaganda by her that appeared in the Vancouver Sun and Times Colonist
this week
(http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Shift+underway+access+information/3595314/story.html).
I just noticed that you will be participating tomorrow on a panel with her
and Paul Hancock (http://www.oipc.bc.ca/pdfs/public/Paul%20Hancock.pdf). I
recognized Mr. Hancock's name because years ago, after I was terminated
from employment at the City of Vancouver, he provided me with all the
records related to that termination. Until the package arrived I was not
sure I would receive anything. I was quite surprised by the volume and
some of the specific contents of what I did receive. Included was
correpondence between CUPE, the City and arbitrator Robert Diebolt that
took place in the days leading up to the kangaroo court engineered by all
of them."


If Paul Hancock's decision regarding his own career was to some degree a response to my email I wouldn't be surprised because I've seen similar reactions before.

Interesting...unless i've missed it, there has been no mention of this on the internal City website.

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