More strange moves in Vancouver senior management

Post by Mike Klassen in ,


 A staffer from the City's communications office takes out the Friday afternoon trash

News from the City of Vancouver Licensing and Inspections Department. The man the City of Vancouver only hired less than eight weeks ago in a role designed to replace Chief Electrician Arkady Tsisserev has resigned suddenly to take a job in Europe.

The following bulletin was circulated this afternoon at Vancouver City Hall.

From: McLellan, David
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 2:09 PM
Cc: Welman, Mairi; Stewart, Wendy; Corporate Management Team (COV) - DL
Subject: Mark Roozbahani

Dear Staff;

Today, I accepted with regret, yet pride and understanding, the resignation of Mark Roozbahani.

I say pride because Mark has accepted a position as Facility Manager, with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. The Court is responsible for some of the most important international work: to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Mark has made the difficult but completely understandable decision to join the Court and make a commitment to international justice. This was a position he applied for prior to participating in the City recruitment process for Assistant Director, Licensing Services.

When the International Criminal Court approached Mark in February with the offer, he sought, and we gave him, two weeks to consider the offer with his family. While we are disappointed to lose Mark, we completely support his decision to accept this higher calling and challenging career opportunity within the international community.

I would like to share with you a few things Mark said of his time at the City of Vancouver:

"It was a very difficult decision for us. I have found the City of Vancouver to be one of the most respectful workplaces I have had the privilege to work for. I have been very satisfied with your leadership and support and enjoyed working with staff and the public here."

Will Johnston and I will support Mark as he concludes his City responsibilities and transitions to his new assignment overseas.

We are very grateful for his time with us and extend our very best wishes to Mark and his family as they relocate to the Netherlands.

David McLellan

We reported back in November that the job once held by Ark Tsisserev – who was fired by Gregor Robertson and Penny Ballem just over a year ago – was given a new title, a demoted position but at the same pay as the Chief Electrician. The job was titled Assistant Director, Inspection Services.

Someone who was highly critical of the City's move to fire Tsisserev was Frank Kurz of Fire Protection Technicians Network. He wrote about Ark's replacement Mark Roozbahani on his own website, saying that the replacement was not qualified to handle Tsisserev's job.

The City of Vancouver is currently facing a lawsuit from a former senior manager, Carlene Robbins, manager of property use, who also worked formerly in the Licenses & Inspections department. Like Roozbahani, Robbins also reported to department head Will Johnson. According to her Notice of Claim to the Supreme Court, her problems stem from the way senior management dealt with her after the Pandora Street fire.

We're looking further into this breaking news story and will post information as it becomes available.

It's a classic example of "take out the trash Friday" when the City releases this message on a Friday afternoon.

- post by Mike


Not possessing ESP, I could not speculate as to whether Mr. McLellan's reason for resignation are as he says, or for some other reason he is not saying.

I will say that is one hell of a prestigious job.

The city of Vancouver has become a total joke. I just love how city management got him to declare his love for them before he bolted from this house of horrors. Nice touch! Didn't somebody also write Ark's note as well?

Dave and company we are all laughing at you. Our senior managers are a complete embarrassment to us all. When the election rolls in I hope a new government does some major housecleaning.

Sounds like a better opportunity came and he took it. This is news because...?

So would it be right to assume, given the information recently on Frances Bula's blog, that the city just paid $60,000 to headhunt this guy and will now be paying out another $60,000 to headhunt his replacement?

It's news because the City still hasn't got an Electrical Safety Manager, a Chief Electrical Inspector, or a City Electrician and the guy they hired certainly didn't meet the requirements. The hiring process has become politicized to such an extent that this Mayor has removed the question regarding technical qualifications from Vancouver's employment application and replaced it with: "Do you believe I'm right about everything?" and "What languages can you say 'Yes' in?" Mandatory attire for meetings in Hizzoner's new offices now includes knee pads and Happy Planet® lip moisturizer.

"Headhunting" for any other organization means trying to find an outstanding person to bring in proven skills to assist in your managing.

Don't fret on whether "$60,000" was spent searching for this guy because, here in Vancouver, it was not likely to have been much more than a phone call. If you happen to know David McLellan, you can get your credentials buttered up, pretty and glossy, step past other HR applicants, overlook past failed performances (North Vancouver) and be accepted to become a puppet manager. Outstanding? Hardly.

Now he moves on to a "Prestigious job"? "Facility Manager" would be no more than a maintenance foreman. Don't be too impressed.

Because of his undying loyalty to his friends and to our city? Because he wasn't qualified for the job in the first place? Because City Hall has become a house of mirrors where you can never be really sure what you're looking at?
PS Frank, Frank, Frank-your close knowledge of the Tsisserev situation, your technical expertise based analysis along with your relentless pursuit of the issue has been invaluable.Take a deep breath and visualize a new administration. It'll help. Meanwhile, I was told by a city worker last night that routine lamp replacement was two years behind schedule. Apparently that work now also includes checking for stray voltage. I wonder if Al Luongo calls Ark OTR to figure out WTH is going on?

That's super speculation Frank & Gerry. I note the number of questions you both ask--looking for some devious dealings when perhaps Occam's razor might apply?

I don't know.

There is no speculation here. This man did not have the qualifications for this position...with pending lawsuits, I'd run for the hills too.

Apologies, read too fast -> Mark Roozbahani, not Dave McLellan.

As for being a "maintenance foreman"...

...sadly, no.

sometimes I truly admire your indomitable spirit when it comes to spin. Reminds me of the swordfight in Holy Grail (lol) ! Still, the why's behind Mark Roozbahani left can be speculated upon, but it matters not one whit.

The fact remains the City created a position, recruited their guy, and before the zero-VOC paint could dry in his renovated office space he's gone, all the while as Penny Ballem took shots at anyone critical of the city over staff retention. Now the new administration has lost one of their hand-picked own, whose off to do facilities management in the name of International Justice. The whys and wherefores matter little - the organization created a spot for a person who left far too soon to justify their efforts.

I do not know Mark Roozbahani, and having read his resume I thought he might be an intriguing addition to the city at some level regarding energy policy given his last position, but the position created did not match his stated skill set, and vice versa.

That a man 8 weeks into a job was suddenly and actively recruited by the Hague seems a stretch, but maybe he has the right blend of facilities management and international law experience required for determining the right amount of energy consumption for war crimes tribunals.

What I do know is he lasted 8 weeks, the position is now vacant, and people are free to have a field day as for whys and wherefores, given how it looks (which by the way, is bad).

"sometimes I truly admire your indomitable spirit when it comes to spin."

I feel the same way about a lot of people here although admire isn't the word I'd use ;)

"Super speculation"?
A good many of the people on both sides of the counter at the Inspections Desk have taken the time to call and email me. "Budgetary restructuring" was the reason given for Ark's dismissal. Poppy-cock. His department alone was garnering revenues over 100% above the cost to operate it. It was a model of efficiency with practically zero delay for contractors and designers requesting variance or deviation on a project. Ark is an Electrical Engineer with an impeccable record of achievement before, during and after his tenure at the City. There is NO ONE in the City's Inspection Branch with his credentials or his knowledge of Electrical Safety, NO ONE with the skillset or the experience to deal with some of the more complex electrical issues that come to the Counter. And Ark is only one of a number of experienced and respected upper management types that have either been pushed or deleted from the City's employ since this Mayor's "new vision" Council took over. And at what cost?
The City's "brain drain" continues at an alarming pace. Dr. Ballem heads a team of hand-picked (and equally myopic) Visionoonies that have been slicing away healthy discourse and smothering honest professional opinion in favour of the Mayor's empty rhetoric and spin. How many more lives will be lost before this “malpractice” stops? Four? Five?
Who’s “super speculating” about eliminating homelessness by 2015 when the statistics I read recently say it’s up by 12% from when this Vision Council actually took over? How much more snake oil and “happy” juice will the citizens of Vancouver be forced to swallow and at what price?
It angers me to think that Dr. Spinney will walk away with a “golden handshake” after less than four years in her current position. Compare her severance package to the one offered Arkady Tsisserev (after 16 years of exemplary service) and then tell me I’m “super speculating” again. And no, I’m not talking the package he wound up with after involving an expensive Lawyer. I’m talking about the one the City originally offered him when he first left. “Super speculation” my eye!
The way I see it is that "the Hydra at the Hall" just lost one of its heads. Let’s hope the one that replaces it will at least have a brain!

The Thought of The Evening

"When Mark Roozbahani said 'I do' to Penny Ballem he was already fore-playing a Dutch call girl named Helga. 'Ménage à trois' anyone...or as they like to call it in The Netherlands,'Huishouden aan drie'? "

Here is the employment ad put out by the ICC in July of 2010:

Talking about due diligence on behalf of the City. The head-hunters hired by the City must be as reliable and competent as their Vision masters, they can only be as good as the lowest on the City’s management scale, which starts with an elephant's arse and ends up with a monkey playing the mandolin.

Let’s recap for a moment here:
City hires... during a generous $$$ spending spree, a big shot agency to ‘head hunt’ a replacement for a demoted position made available as the result of the firing of one of the most competent individuals the City ever had on their roster. Reason for that firing was ... restructuring, budget constraints, and an extreme PMS (Penny Management Syndrome) hot flush.

Stay with me...

Following a ‘long and tedious search’ (say, McLellan calling Mark one falsetto: ‘Watzzup man!’) for an applicant, for a position that no longer existed, due to them eliminating it in the first place. ‘Transitional puppet needed’ said the City Hall ad. That wording made Pinocchio blush.

Wait for it...

Forget the fact that the guy was not qualified for the position to start with. There are two scenarios.

Mark, lied through his teeth during all interviews with the head hunters
and the City, overstating his knowledge and experience and future plans. If that’s correct, good luck to Mr. Van Hague of the ICC. He just got the cream of the crop in Vision pastry. No wonder why Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld or Blair have never made it to their Euro-list of persons of interest.

Still there? Wait for it...

Mark, was a great guy and he disclosed that he was seeing someone outside his pay range and that he was in for a quickie, and that my friends, would put the City into the cross-hairs. Totally. see?

For it would be inconceivable for a management team (McLellan, Ballem, Johnston) paid by taxpayers money, in the million$ of dollars per year, to go to such great distance and effort to hire someone so unqualified and so ...not there, knowingly, and in total breach of trust vis-a-vis the Vancouver taxpayers.
That my friends, is bureaucratic ‘menage a treason’ and I’ll vote for whoever makes a point in their November’s platform, to get rid of the above management team as their first order of business when in office.

Otherwise they’ll have to vote for me. Sometimes there are things you cannot leave it for others to do, you’d have to do it yourself, if you know what I mean...

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Nail, Head, Hammer, Bang!
If this was a movie, you would steal the scene.
The Triad of Error (Ballem, McLellan, Johnston) should be dismissed with cause (i.e. fired with extreme prejudice) for their gross mismanagement and incompetence. Let them try to sue the City for severance.
I vote for Glissando.

Any doubt that all three have violated Ballem's Code of Conduct? It's called being hoisted on your own petard(look it up Boo...).

@Glissandro: you are so cynical....

As David McLellan so ably stated:
"Mark has made the difficult but completely understandable decision to join the Court and make a commitment to international justice....we completely support his decision to accept this higher calling"

Does Roozbahani answering a higher calling not fit the 'Vision' of the City of Vancouver* (*a division of Joel Solomon Inc.) of making the world a better place, one light bulb at a time? Can't argue with the Hollyhockers 500-year plan. We should be supportive of the positive energy flowing from this announcement, as it showcases the City of Vancouver talent on the world stage.

Think how proud and happy Vancouverites will be if sometime in the near future, Penny Ballem departs for a job at the Vatican, or if Sadju Johnston leaves to broker peace between the Koreas. Perhaps we can export city council to Libya to consult on fledgling democracies.

Here's to higher callings!
Hail Hail Greendonia

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