Monday, December 15, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


I have received a few posts regarding the firing of popular City Manager Judy Rogers and this allowed me to expand my thoughts further.

Judy Rogers always treated me well. When I enquired about the strike she had a senior staff person call me back immediately so I could run my story. Moreover, I've spoken with many staff at City Hall who worked under Ms Rogers and they had immense respect for her. She was according to many, a perfect dream boss.

I did watch Judy Rogers at Council meetings. She was non-partisan politically as a senior Manager should be. I think this irked some of the Councillors who believed Ms Rogers to be more compatible with the NPA, however, it seemed to me that she was following policy set by the governing party including the 311 system that a few pundits have complained about.

In any event it seems wrong to bring in someone with no municipal experience as Vision has done with the hiring of Penny Ballem. Putting her in the top position as City Manager is questionable especially since it was done behind closed doors.

Even if Vision lost confidence in Ms Rogers they should have promoted from within the city ranks where there are many capable, talented individuals who are qualified to be City Manager. Or they should have embarked on a search country-wide which would have brought forward many talented individuals.

I also find it interesting that a trade-union-principle is that promotions should occur first from within the workers pool when positions come up that are deemed promotions. This in fact is written in most union collective agreements.

Of course because Ms Rogers was not a unionized employee the city union CUPE didn't speak out. Did the union compromise its trade-union-principles just because the position is a non union one and because they are supporters of Vision? Or was it due to their perception that Ms Rogers opposed their bargaining rights in the municipal strike?

Ms Ballem was hired as the new City Manager without working her way up through management ranks. She will now be seen as a mere lapdog for Vision. Perception is thus created that she obtained the position not on merit but on pure partisan politics. I'm certain many employees at the City will see this move by Vision as a crass political move and Ms Ballem comes into the position, I would say, in a manner which won't exactly earn her respect among the many city employees, unionized and non-unionized alike.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


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