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City of Victoria City Manager thread


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#1 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 01:24 PM

Victoria has a new city manager: [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story.html?id=57dcba87-4795-4d75-a6f5-9465a19381b0:2af53]Ballantyne to move into city's top post[/url:2af53].

[url=http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2002-11/nov11_02wom.html:2af53]Penny[/url:2af53] [url=http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2002-02/feb18_02qaa.html:2af53]Ballantyne[/url:2af53] is from Churchill, MB, and grew up in Nunavut. T-C notes that she has been living in Victoria for the past three years, working part-time as a consultant, but had always planned to retire in Victoria. (This is confusing... She's too young at 51 to retire, so why does the article stress the retiring part?) Her husband continues to work as president of Aber Diamond Corp. in Yellowknife, and commutes (i.e., he's not retired, either).

I still can't get over that retire-to reference. Why bring up the retirement angle?
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#2 G-Man

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 02:11 PM

Maybe having a high paying city job is the only way to afford retiring in Victoria?

Honestly though I noticed that too and thought it was funny. Of course I have also noticed a growing trend of pre-mature retirment. People that retire early on only to hop back into the workforce a year or two later.

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#3 aastra

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 04:26 PM

I've noticed that, as the retirement haven angle gets weaker and weaker, we're seeing younger and younger people being portrayed as retirees.

"Victoria is full of retirees. Look at that geezer over there. He must be 45 years old at least!"

#4 aastra

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 04:28 PM

Hmm. She was born in Churchill and she's lived and worked in Nunavut and the NWT, so therefore she's an ideal city manager for Victoria??

Not bashing her or anything, but it seems a bit funny. Was she the most un-urban person they could possibly find?

#5 G-Man

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 04:29 PM

Well they deal with more personnel issues so really they just have to be a good negotiator.

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#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:05 PM

She doesn't need the money, methinks. Her hubby is probably loaded, as that diamond co. owns almost half that new mine up there.
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#7 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:20 PM

I'm quite impressed. I think she'll make a fine City Manager.

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#8 rayne_k

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 09:02 PM

(This is confusing... She's too young at 51 to retire, so why does the article stress the retiring part?)

I still can't get over that retire-to reference. Why bring up the retirement angle?


Disclaimer: since the new city manager already lives in Victoria what I say below doesn't apply to her.

I have a theory that many Victoria employers can face a flood of applicants who are nearing retirement age (ie 50 ish) and have much experience behind them. This pool of people wanting to become established in Victoria (in anticipation of retirement) competes with younger professionals for work in their fields. Most employers highly value experience so they may take someone with 20 years behind them rather than someone with 5 or 10.

But this might not always be a good thing for organisations: 1) you get more staff who are gearing down or staying level rather looking forward 2) in this era of technological change, you might wind up with people less open to technology... The "I've-done-it-this-way-for-x-years-it-works-why-change" syndrome.

#9 Gregory Hartnell

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:08 PM

+++

The chief of police filled in for six months while the City looked for this new manager, which suggests to me either that the manager's job is not all that difficult to perform, or vice versa.

Let's hope that the chief of police doesn't take off, as one wonders whether the new manager could wear two hats like he supposedly did without compromising the public interest or safety.

My conclusion: both these positions are overpaid.

+++

#10 Rob Randall

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:57 PM

^I don't think the position is overpaid as the Manager really runs the City, not the mayor, and an incompetent City Manager can really hobble the health and growth of a city.

On a different note -- not sure where to post this -- City Manager Penny Ballantine has just resigned -- very gracious resignation citing the recent death of her husband and the necessity of taking care of herself and her family. Mayor Fortin's acceptance equally gracious.
Very unfortunate for city -- the lady had class, grit and savvy.


This is a real shock. This is very bad news for the City.

A couple of us from the DRA were invited to participate in a presentation by the three finalists for the City Manager job back in 2006. Penny was clearly the superior candidate.

She's only been back at work a few weeks since her lengthy leave of absence. Maybe she feels she came back too soon or maybe she doesn't think this new Council will work well with staff, I don't know.

I do know the Cuff report is due to be released soon and it will paint a picture of dysfunction that Ballantyne was keen to clean up. Now we are back to square one and face months of searching for someone to run this city at a crucial time in its history.

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#11 spanky123

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 02:03 PM

So we the City manager for two years (albeit recently off) and she is now looking forward to cleaning up the disfunction? Sounds to me like she left to avoid having to deal with the Cuff fallout.

Was she paid during her time off?

#12 Rob Randall

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 02:33 PM

No, it was six month's unpaid leave.

An excerpt from today's press release:

"Penny introduced new standards of professionalism and public service at the City of Victoria and her departure will be felt deeply," noted Mayor Dean Fortin. "In less than two years, Penny built a cohesive team of senior managers, was integral to the work of the Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness, renewed the City's commitment to professional communications and has positioned the City to be an employer of choice in a competitive job market."

Fortin added, "I speak for all of Council when I say we are disappointed that we won't be able to work with Penny on the exciting work ahead of us. She has put the systems and people in place for us to do great things at the City and we wish her and her family all the best."

"When I was appointed City Manager two years ago, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work in support of the best city in Canada. I could not have foreseen, when I accepted this position, that life had other plans for my family," said Ms. Ballantyne. "I have to accept that my life has changed in a profound and permanent way and that it is time for me to take care of myself and my family."


"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#13 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 11:47 PM

Does anyone dare venture any insights into what 'cleaning up dysfunction' would have entailed?

I'm disturbed by the lack of transparency at the staff levels (or at least it looks that way). The politicians are more transparent - they have to hold meetings that the public can sit in on, they have to run for office, etc. They're weather-vanes, too, going whichever way they think the public (those who vote) want them to. Case in point: the backpedaling on Cridge by some.

But what happens at the staff level seems so distant. Many of us here are interested in planning, for example, and staff does much to invite the public to open houses or to visioning sessions of one kind or another. At the same time, I don't have any sense of why they're doing this, or what happens to the input/ feedback they collect - no sense of how that translates into policy.

Take the heritage registry open houses. I never had a sense that there was an especially strong public sense around this, but more that it was the pet project of a couple of people at city (and a very small group of well-known heritage advocates), and that they were driving this. I still have no idea why some of the buildings up for consideration should be there, except that some people on staff think they should be. Most of all, I have no idea how this fits into some overall economic or future vision for the city, of how this city will or should grow, what it should grow into.

Anyway, kind of off-topic, but back to the original question: what would cleaning up "dysfunction" entail? Who's in control, who's out of control? Or is it all moot because as usual not much will change here?
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#14 Holden West

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 07:18 AM

I think one area of dysfunction is a building proposal winding its way through a consultation process for two years before being told it's not suitable for the area after all.

Here's the money shot from today's Times Colonist article:

Ballantyne took over from former police chief Paul Battershill, who was appointed acting city manager after Joe Martignago left "by mutual agreement" with the city in 2006. At that time Martignago, who was hired in 2000, had 21/2 years left on his contract. He was paid a severance package worth $235,000.

Martignago had replaced Don Roughley, who resigned after 31/2 years in the city's top job.

By contrast, Saanich has had four city managers in more than 50 years.


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#15 Caramia

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 11:19 AM

It is really too bad that Penny left, as far as I could tell she was universally respected and liked at City Hall .. not an easy thing to achieve. We still have a couple of quiet geniuses in planning, Mark Hornell and Chris Gower, but I can't think of anyone who could step into Penny's shoes. It will be interesting to see who the candidates are.
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#16 Linear Thinker

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 11:53 AM

From the City Media Release page:

Date: Friday, June 28, 2013 For Immediate Release
VICTORIA, BC — City Manager Gail Stephens will resign in early August for a new appointment as Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


“Gail's departure is an enormous loss for the Capital City and the staff team at the City of Victoria," noted Mayor Dean Fortin. "Gail's leadership, integrity and professionalism are second to none and we have been extremely fortunate to have her at the helm during an important time in the City's history."


Ms. Stephens led a City staff team of nearly 1000 employees for the past four years, overseeing all City departments and an operating budget of $130 million. She introduced a new strategic planning and project management process, renewed the City's commitment to economic development, civic engagement, and customer service, and in her tenure saw the approval of key City policies with a new Official Community Plan,
Economic Development Strategy, and Downtown Core Area Plan.


Prior to the City of Victoria, Ms. Stephens was the Vice-President of Finance and Services for the University of Calgary, the CEO of the BC Pension Corporation for five years and was the first woman City Manager of a major city in Canada when she led the City of Winnipeg from 1998-2003.


The Museum for Human Rights is located in Winnipeg and will open in 2014. The mandate of the museum is to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public's understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue.



#17 spanky123

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:32 PM

I wonder how much we will have to pay her to "resign"

#18 Mike K.

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:34 PM

Good question. When an employee resigns are they still entitled to a severance package?

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#19 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:08 PM

This Human Rights museum is going to be a big flop, BTW.

Anyway, it looks like it needs some leadership.
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#20 spanky123

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:20 PM

Good question. When an employee resigns are they still entitled to a severance package?


Only in Government it seems.

The real question is what are we going to do for a Mayor now that Gail is leaving?!

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