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New police chief is current deputy chief, Adam Palmer

April 16th, 2015 · 4 Comments

This just out

Vancouver – The Vancouver Police Board announced today that they had chosen a new chief constable to lead the Vancouver Police Department. He is 28-year veteran VPD Deputy Chief Adam Palmer.

“The Police Board was very pleased that we had two outstanding internal candidates as finalists. Just before the final interviews were conducted, Deputy Chief Constable Doug LePard decided to withdraw and support the selection of his colleague Adam Palmer. Following the final interview completed today, the Police Board decided unanimously that Adam was the right person to lead the VPD,” said the Chair of the Vancouver Police Board Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“We are confident that Chief Constable Adam Palmer will continue the progress of his predecessor Chief Constable Jim Chu, striving to make Vancouver the safest major city in Canada and further enhancing the reputation of the VPD as an excellent police service.”

Retiring Chief Constable Jim Chu says he is looking forward to a smooth transition.

“I am very pleased that we were able to choose a new chief internally and grateful to the eight members of the police board for their careful deliberations. I will work with the new chief with the goal of making the transition as smooth and soon as possible. I would like to thank Deputy Chief Doug LePard for making a difficult personal decision to withdraw and I know he was putting the interests of the VPD first.”

A date for a formal change of command ceremony will be announced shortly.

Deputy Chief Adam Palmer was born and raised in the Vancouver area. Prior to joining the VPD, he studied business administration at Simon Fraser University and worked as a correctional officer. Deputy Palmer began his career with the VPD in 1987 and since that time has worked in a variety of operational, investigative and administrative areas.

He spent the first 13 years of his career working as a patrol officer in East Vancouver. He has also worked in the Jail, the Crowd Control Unit, the Gang Crime Unit, the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia, Police/Crown Liaison and the Planning, Research and Audit Section.

As a sergeant, he was extensively involved in the development of the VPD’s Strategic Plan and managed a long-term review of policing operations at the VPD. The Operational Review project examined topical policing issues including the use of overtime, the civilianization of sworn positions, shared services with the City of Vancouver, and the deployment of patrol, investigative and administrative police resources. The Operational Review resulted in improved departmental business practices and the addition of 194 police officers and 95 civilian staff positions between 2005 and 2007. This research has attracted interest from across North America and abroad. Deputy Palmer has been invited to speak to other police agencies and international police conferences on the methodology and findings of this project.

As an inspector, he was the officer in charge of Patrol District 2 which includes the Downtown Eastside, Chinatown, Gastown, Strathcona, Grandview-Woodlands and Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhoods. He was also responsible for port and marine policing for the City of Vancouver, the largest port in Canada. During the 2010 Winter Olympics Deputy Palmer was seconded to the Integrated Security Unit as the Venue Commander for the Pacific Coliseum where he oversaw the security for the figure skating and short track speed skating events.

Upon promotion to Deputy Chief in 2010 he was assigned to the Support Services Division where he was responsible for Planning, Research and Audit, Professional Standards, Human Resources, Training, Recruiting, the Jail, Information Management, Information Technology, Communications, Fleet, Facilities, and Finance. He is currently assigned to the Investigation Division where he is responsible for all investigative areas of the VPD including Major Crime, Special Investigations, Organized Crime, General Investigations, Forensic Services, Tactical Support and Youth Services.

Deputy Palmer has completed numerous policing and professional development courses throughout his career. He holds a B.A. (Hons) and has completed two executive leadership programs with the FBI: Leadership in Counter Terrorism and the National Executive Institute. Deputy Palmer sits on the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Board and the Criminology Advisory Committee for Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He is the recipient of nine VPD commendations and is a former Police Officer of the Year. He has been invested as a Member of the Order of Merit for the Police Forces by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada.

 

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Head of engineering, manager community services retire at Vancouver city hall

April 15th, 2015 · 10 Comments

This memo from city manager Penny Ballem just in from the troops. I’d heard about Peter Judd from hallway gossip this week, but the rest is news to me and I’m not totally sure what it all means.

Dear Colleagues,

Since the start of the new Council term, I have been working with various members of the Corporate Management Team to restructure a few of our portfolios to further enhance our ability to achieve the ambitious goals of Council.  I thought it would be useful to summarize these in one message – some of these will occur in the short term and others will take a few months to put in place.

As you know, Peter Judd is retiring this month and Jerry Dobrovolny has agreed to step in as Acting City Engineer and General Manager of Engineering Services.  A national search will be undertaken to replace Peter.  We will also be establishing a Deputy City Engineer/Deputy General Manager position for Engineering, given the size and complexity of that portfolio, and will be recruiting for that position over the coming months.

I have asked Sandra Singh, Chief Librarian at Vancouver Public Library, to take responsibility for the strategic leadership at CMT for the City of Vancouver Archives portfolio.  Archives will continue to report to the City Clerk and be part of the City Clerk’s Office but Sandra will be responsible at a senior level for working on the strategic opportunities and plans with senior staff at the Archives.  The alignment of Archives along with Sandra’s leadership, particularly in the context of the Digital Strategy, will allow the ongoing development of a strategic plan to enable the full opportunity of public access to our Archives, something which has been part of their vision for a significant period of time.

I have spoken with Patrice Impey, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of Financial Services, and Paul Mochrie, General Manager of Human Resources and Digital Strategy, and we have agreed to move the Information Technology team, under the leadership of the Chief Information Officer, to Paul Mochrie’s portfolio which will now be called Human Resources, Digital Strategy and IT.  This will bring together the CIO and the IT group – key enablers of the Digital Strategy, the Chief Digital Officer and the Web Team, and 311 all under one General Manager, aligning key skills and resources as we move into the next phase of the digital strategy and through it, further transforming the City.  This change will also enable Patrice and her team to further develop our investment and work over the past few years in a City-wide Finance organization, the Risk Management portfolio, lean Process Management, Supply Chain Management and, as well, broaden the impact of Business Planning and Capital Project Management to enhance value for money and business performance across the City.  Patrice’s portfolio will now be called Finance, Risk and Business Planning to reflect this new emphasis.

Finally, over the last few months, there have been a number of organizational changes in the Community Services portfolio – Housing policy has been moved under the Chief Housing Officer and Building Inspections under the General Manager of Planning and Development Services.  Brenda Prosken will be leaving the City after six years in the Community Services portfolio, first as Deputy General Manager and then as General Manager for the last two and a half years.  Brenda has made a significant contribution to the City since coming to us from the Vancouver Public Library in 2008 and will be missed.  I have asked Teresa Hartman, Director of the Vancouver Services Review, to step in and lead this portfolio over the coming months, working with me on a review of the Community Services portfolio and related opportunities to align its many functions to support the various policy initiatives of Council, many of which are underway. Following on that,  the GM position will be posted and a search undertaken.  I know you will all join me in thanking Brenda for her service to the City and wishing her the very best.

Our organization will continue to change in response to the numerous strategic initiatives underway. I would like to thank all the members of CMT who have worked with me on these shifts and changes.  Our goal is to work hard to ensure that those impacted by these changes have appropriate information and support as we move through these changes.  Thank you for your patience.

Penny Ballem

City Manager

 

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Second round starts tonight for the Yaletown-Jubilee House-Brenhill developments

April 14th, 2015 · 4 Comments

People wanting to jolt themselves out of a state of contentment may want to watch the angst-ridden proceedings tonight aka the public hearing for 508 Helmcken, the current site of Jubilee House social housing and the future site of a 36-storey tower.

I did a story in the Globe today summarizing the surge of pros and cons over the deal, with those opposing saying it’s another snake-oil deal by the city that will jam a too-tall tower into a too-small space, while those in favour will say it’s a rare chance to build some social housing that’s desperately needed.

A few hours after I filed, I also got this letter (508HelmckenUDP) from a group of prominent planners, begging the city to take this project back to the urban design panel because it is too big for its setting.

 

 

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The man fighting to bring a new model of mental-health services to B.C.’s young people

April 13th, 2015 · No Comments

I’ve been hearing about psychiatrist Steve Mathias for years, his efforts to bring mental-health services to street kids in the West End and the Downtown Eastside.

I finally got to spend some time with him and hear about his big idea for how to get better psychiatric services to more kids in B.C. His storefront operation on Granville Street just opened. Now we’ll see if it will go further.

Here’s the story I did on him in Vancouver magazine.

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Vancouver’s Compass Card, still in tests after two years. Typical for transit smart cards or no?

April 13th, 2015 · 19 Comments

Transit smart cards are the in thing these days, I’ve discovered. Everyone wants them, in order to keep tabs on how transit is getting used and to give customers all the options they want for paying things these days.

Even systems that installed earlier versions, like Washington and Chicago, are upgrading their systems so they can expand to more modes and more ways of payment. (The hot thing these days is making sure systems have the capability to accept payments from bank and credit cards, not just a transit-only loaded-value card.)

I took a look around and called some people in the business for a story I did in the wake of the announcement about TransLink’s plan to roll out the card to another 130,000 people — university students — by September, bringing the total number of cards in use to 215,000. Still nowhere near the 1.2-million users a day but not peanuts.

It was interesting to find out that Calgary, for example, actually ended the contract with its vendor after years of not getting the system going and then had to go back because there weren’t any other options. And they’re still waiting, after about as many years as Vancouver. Other systems have rolled out their cards to everyone early, i.e. in Chicago, and then had some disastrous glitches that enraged people.

What I got from several long conversations was that it’s not always easy to tell from the outside who is the real problem: the transit agency for asking for too much? or the contractor for promising too much and then not delivering?

Sometimes it’s neither, consultants said — more a question of both sides constantly upgrading the functionality as things change in their worlds or discovering that something that worked in three other cities doesn’t work here.

 

 

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BulaBlog Beer Bash: Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m., Rogue Waterfront. Be there or be square

April 2nd, 2015 · 15 Comments

So Kirk and Jenables thought it was about time to get together and hash out all current issues in person, for those times when calling someone names from the privacy of your home laptop just isn’t enough.

Kidding, folks! In actual fact, the two get-togethers we’ve had so far have been remarkable for their civility and I would like to say, on a personal note, that it’s been wonderful to meet or get to know better people who have come out to these.

K and J decided the Rogue Waterfront would be perfect: on top of all major transit lines, as everyone argues about the transit plebiscite, and next to the site of the Icepick building, which has also been a topic of disagreement.

I have agreed to come along, at their request. (After all, the blog is you, not me.)

All are welcome, truly. The reservation is under BulaBlog.

 

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Soliciting donations, promising stuff to donors – the Supreme Court asked to figure out if that’s conflict

April 2nd, 2015 · 6 Comments

I realize the keeners in class already know that the Supreme Court heard the case this week involving five Vancouver residents — including one of Vision Vancouver’s most persistent critics, Randy Helten — versus Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Geoff Meggs. The residents are trying to get them thrown out of office for having, they claim, put themselves in a conflict of interest by making promises to a city union about jobs in exchange for campaign donations.

The stories I wrote in the two days in court are here and here. But court cases always inspire me to muse aloud, because there are so many things that happen that can’t be captured in just one or two news stories.

So two, count ‘em, two lawyers from Fasken Martineau argued on behalf of residents (who have repeatedly declined to say who is helping pay their legal bills) that Meggs had gone beyond the usual kind of campaign promise when he went to CUPE 1004’s general meeting last October and talked about Vision’s policy on contracting out.

David Wotherspoon made an argument I didn’t expect, saying that it was okay for Meggs to have said that the mayor “has re-committed to not extend any contracting out.” I thought that was the statement that the NPA claimed was proof that the mayor and councillor were promising future jobs for the union in exchange for campaign contributions.

But Wotherspoon said that was the kind of general policy statement made during campaign pitches that was okay.

[Read more →]

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Is it time to start thinking about Plan B for the transit referendum?

March 27th, 2015 · 285 Comments

The guy who was the mayoral candidate for the Non-Partisan Association last November, Kirk LaPointe, thinks so.

Anyone else got a Plan B?

 

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And the debate over a new Vancouver Art Gallery heats up again

March 26th, 2015 · 8 Comments

This Vancouver Sun story today, saying the VAG is not going to meet its deadline to raise money and never planned to, and this proposal for an art gallery expansion on this existing site arrived in my mailbox this morning.

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Uber has something to say about the Lower Mainland’s transit referendum

March 19th, 2015 · 37 Comments

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