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Judy Rogers got $572,000 to say bye-bye to the city

March 19th, 2009 · 37 Comments

Everyone who FOI’d Judy Rogers’ severance package got their letter this morning on the amount, though not the full severance agreement. It was $571,788 — not the $700,000 that some people had been chattering about.

Still a whack of money, though. You can read my web file here from the Globe and I’ll have more tomorrow in the print edition.

One nice thing in all of this. Usually the city declines to give us media pests these severance amounts even when we FOI. I’m still waiting for appeals on this from past requests to be heard. But this time, the city decided to release the amount without an appeal. Yay. Perhaps this is part of the cost-cutting — they’re trying to save on costly staff time fighting appeals they always lose.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Don Buchanan

    G&M typo Francis – $200k should be 300k for Judy’s assumed 2009 salary!

  • Not running for mayor

    I’m not as upset at the amount of the severance package as I am that she was let go. Wether or not many of us agreed with her desicions she ulitamately became very unpopular due to her stance in the civic strike. I felt she did what she could to get the best deal for the taxpayers and not for the workers and that gained her lots of enemies in cityhall.

    The comment by Geoff Meggs though are very scary, the half a million is nothing, the new manager has already saved us $90Million. I can not beleive he beleives that, does he think that Judy or anyone else wouldn’t have done the same in the situation?? It’s not like they worked some special deal out.

  • spartikus

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry anymore: when you reach the level of the Judy Rogers of this world it really doesn’t matter what you do. Totally screw up? Don’t worry, you’re still set for life!

    See the kerfuffle over the bonuses handed out to the AIG execs who brought down the company and much of the global economy with them for a more egregious example.

    I would very much like to see the concept of “severence packages” discarded from contracts with the managerial classes @ the CoV , and I would give that advice to the private sector too. They should get 2 weeks wage/salary like us plebs.

    That would still be close to $15k for Ms Rogers.

  • Michael Phillips

    I think Mr. Meggs is simply employing the little known Sullivan School of Economic Theory: Losing a huge amount of taxpayer money (A) is irrelevant because it’s less than an even larger amount of money (B) gained through means totally unrelated to why you lost A.

    Mathematically it looks like this:

    when A<B, A=0 ergo $571,788 + ≈$200 million = 0 therefore ∑AB= B.S. lim √A2 ≠ ∑ B/A = wtf

  • Mark

    Shameful. Between this and Gregor’s $8 MILLION campaign I’m at a loss for words.

  • Égalité

    Wow. Ok, so let’s hope current city leaders and managers are serious about a city that works for everyone, especially the thousands of folks struggling to earn a living wage.

  • JPW

    I think its important to consider carefully why the Mayor and Vision Vancouver were so willing to pay Judy Rogers so much money. I suspect they wanted to secure her silence, keep her from needing to work until after the provincial election and basically not cause them any trouble by working for the other team. I think Cllr. Meggs’ comments about the 90 million savings are at best premature. There has been no deal with the new lenders yet and no payment schedule established to repay the collosal amount of money they have given Fortress…not to mention a tallying of all the lawyers, accountants, consultants and PR people they have spent big bucks on regarding the Village. I think under the present economic conditions it does sting to hear about such a large payout. If they were that disatisfied with her performance why not be more litigeous and fight for the City’s interests? The settlement happened in the blink of an eye and then arrived Penny Ballem in very short order without any hint of a succession plan. Given how quickly Penny Ballem was brought in, what’s not to say there won’t be another big payout if things don’t work out? Its not like things ended well for her in Victoria? Did they?

  • Denis

    Isn’t it fairly standard to give one and a half year4s severance for executives? When the present provincial governments does the same when dropping heavy hitters nobody seems to think its wrong.

  • LP

    As someone who has done their fair share of whacking (the legal kind), severence can range anywhere from 2 weeks to roughly 2 months (per year) of the final salary the employee earned.

    If there was “just cause” and a file was created documenting repeated and consistent behaviour that would constitute dismissal – AND verbal and written warnings were given leading up to the dismissal – the employer can generally get away with paying a minimum amount.

    If however the dismissal was done without what a court would determine was fair treatment to rectify any potential issues between the two parties, judges have been known to award up to 2 months pay for every year worked, at the final salary. And yes I am referring to Canadian judgements.

    Depending on what type of employment contract she had, all of this may be mute and pre-determined.

    If not, there would have been a negotiation to determine the amount to prevent the obligatory lawsuit to recoup lost wages. Since the city is now forcing people to sign those confidentiality agreements to get their packages, that also would likely increase the payout slightly as it’s in the city’s best interest to keep everything out of the news.

    So although people out there like Spartikus may want her tar and feathered, potentially her contract and if not employment law, are there to prevent that from happening.

    Now all you readers at city hall who think their time is coming – make sure you soak them for everything you can get. Geoff old boy seems to think firing people saves money so you shouldn’t be shy about demanding all you can if you’re getting kicked out the door.

  • Vision governs, the NPA blogs

    If it wasn’t for Dr Ballem, there’d be no $90 million in savings on the Olympic Village, and we’d still be on the hook to a bleeding Wall Street hedge fund. The finances wouldn’t have been made public – and you can bet the cost overruns on the social housing never would have come to council.

    Do any of you seriously believe that still would have happened if there wasn’t a major change in management?

  • Can’t stop laughing

    Vision governs, the NPA blogs – You live in a dream world. Dr. Ballem had nothing to do with getting rid of Fortress (aka bleeding Wall Street hedge fund). They had stopped funding the Olympic Village long before she showed up and if the Province hadn’t changed the legislation, to allow the CoV to borrow funds, to complete the Olympic Village the whole project would have ground to a halt. Get your facts strait. As far as that $90 MM in savings goes … Nothing but smoke and mirrors. I’ll be amazed if that project comes close to breaking even and that’s if they get rid of the ‘social housing’ component of the project. Otherwise it will be a massive sink hole of Vancouver Taxpayer money. No thanks or blame to Dr. Ballem.

  • Like it or not, the severance is consistent with the level of the position and the duration of employment.

    As for the condos, Millennium Water will not be profitable. Should it wrap as a $200-million loss — which is a reasonable estimate — it will be as if the city gave away the land for free and then some.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Two words for Judy: Good riddance.

    Worth every penny to get rid of someone who’s ego and cunning had made her the bloody de facto mayor…

    As for Mr. Meggs, who is growingly getting on my nerves with his ridiculous comments: Put a sock in it Geoff, you’re not longer Chief of Staff.
    Understand that the more you make such foolish, stupid comments, the worse it will get for your Mayor and team…

    Oh, sorry, silly me, I forgot…you learned from Larry…

  • glissando remmy

    “In other towns, I venture to observe, the authorities and officials look out for themselves more. Here, I may say, we have no other thought than to win the Government’s esteem through good order, vigilance, and efficiency. When the whole town is in order, the streets swept clean, the prisoners well kept, and few drunkards—what more do I want? Upon my word, I don’t even crave honours. Honours, of course, are alluring; but as against the happiness which comes from doing one’s duty, they are nothing but dross and vanity”
    Excerpt from “The Government Inspector”, by Nicolai Gogol

    Somehow the “suits” always find ways to rewards themselves, again. Good job Mr. Mayor and Council!
    Not that it wasn’t expected that Judy’s severance package to be in the upper echelons of a 6/49 draw. Unfortunately for us, the tax payers, this is purely a direct result to the “The Apprentice” game that the VV is currently playing with the public purse.
    In retrospective now, I bet Penny was hyperventilating in the background of the November election way before the final numbers were in.
    For this amount of money ($570,000) if I was the Mayor I would have made Judy to climb the stairs to my office three times a day for a minimum of two years! She would have earned her 300 Grants per year guaranteed!
    I am disgusted to either read and/or write on this subject but before I go I need to share a piece of information with all “politicians” out there.
    I recommend you all to go deep into the great Russians writers.
    Start with any of the following novels/plays but more importantly read them all:
    “The Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoevsky;
    “The Bed Bug” by Vladimir Mayakovsky;
    “The Government Inspector” by Nicolai Gogol.
    You will be able to recognize yourselves in some of the characters, discover how others may perceive you and learn of the outcome you may have to face when your term is over.
    You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll swear.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • rf

    The real cost savings are in the salary arena. There are nearly 1000 people working for the city making $100,000+/year.
    Cut 10% of staff or ask everyone to take a 10% paycut. Spare us the tears CUPE hacks. A clerk in the private sector makes $35-50k. At city hall they make $65k + pension for working at 37 hour week and get 7 weeks off (with flex days). Private sector you would be lucky to get 3 weeks.
    The pendulum went to far. The city had to pay to attract people away from a hot private sector. Now there would be 50 people lining up for every job at city hall and would do it for 1/2 the salary ($130,000k for corporate communications? Gimme a break. There’s 500 people in this town who would do that job capabably for $80k).
    Wages are where the savings lay, just like in the private sector.

  • spartikus

    There are nearly 1000 people working for the city making $100,000+/year.
    Cut 10% of staff or ask everyone to take a 10% paycut. Spare us the tears CUPE hacks.

    The staff making $100k+ aren’t in CUPE, they’re exempt staff.

    At city hall they make $65k + pension for working at 37 hour week and get 7 weeks off

    This is false.

  • spartikus

    This is false.

    pg. 61, as the cite.

    In the same document, you will also see rf’s claim of 42 days off contradicted on pg. 94.

  • spartikus

    That said, I would agree that compensation has become extremely skewed in favour of the upper end of the spectrum. This imbalance is larger than the City of Vancouver, though, affecting public and private sectors alike.

  • rf

    Um….42 days off is 8 1/2 weeks in the real world.
    7 weeks mean 35 days off.

    My point was that someone getting 4 weeks off (20 days) can accrue flex days which add up to an extra day off every 3 weeks (17 days, aka, 3.5 weeks), in exchange for working 7.5 hrs in a day instead of 7.

    If I am mistaken and that only applies to exempt staff, I apologize. Granted exempt staff is where the real ridiculous salaries are, I grit my teeth when CUPE acts like they are hard done by. It’s a pretty cushy gig during a recession.

  • Forthingham

    parking fines are going up. more areas of the city to have more meters. many areas of the city will have higher rates. Way to go! I guess they have to find extra $$ for all the pay-outs. This and increasing taxes. Time to leave this hell of a city! Vision? How about they call themselves Magoo’s Mugs!

  • City Hall Insider

    No one is mentioning the real objective here. A purge of the old guard. Any one associated with Ken Dobell (who was still running the City from Gordo’s office) needs to go. We are excited about the future of this great city. It will be worth every cent.
    By the way I have already taken my pay cut in the form of 3 months on the picket line.

  • LP

    So the old guard is purged. Then the new guard will be purged in 3 or 6 years. How is this good for the city long -term? Are we going to complete this exercise every party switch at mayor/council?

    Surely, anyone who thinks Ballum will keep her job that long is fooling themselves.

    So “City Hall Insider” is happy obviously because they’re a union member. And we all know what that means when it comes to city hall and where their support lies. Comments like these show the union was never about the interests of the city as a whole, as they like to lead everyone to believe when it’s contract time.

    Let’s see if you think it’s “worth every cent” next negotiation when you’re told there isn’t enough money for that exorbitant pay hike (yet again).

    Next time, 3 months may seem like a picnic.

  • Charlie Harper

    Now if we can only purge the old guard at Cupe 15 we would be in good shape.

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    LP, in one post you tell city workers who are leaving to “make sure you soak them for everything you can get”. Yet in your follow up post, you admonish that “the union was never about the interests of the city as a whole”, suggesting it was all about getting more money. I don’t necessarily disagree with either comment, but I hope all those employees you are so proud of having “whacked” weren’t victims of your bipolar management policies. Nothing makes a work environment toxic like a boss contradicting him or herself all the time.

  • spartikus

    Comments like these show the union was never about the interests of the city as a whole

    Oh good lord, you obviously don’t understand the Canadian system of labour relations.

    Unions advocate for the interests of their membership…no matter what. Akin to a lawyer building the strongest case for their client regardless of guilt. It’s their purpose by design.

    The labour system, like the courts, is adversarial. It’s adversarial by design.

    when you’re told there isn’t enough money for that exorbitant pay hike

    Maybe that will happen, although I’m told Harper and Campbell have the economy under control (laughs) – and you know what, unions in the CoV have accepted 0% at the bargaining table. It’s in the history books, check for yourself.

    And if you think the current contract is “exorbitant” – especially during a time the booming economy was touted by all levels of government and there was a labour shortage in the province – you’re kidding yourself. I’ll tell you what’s actually exorbitant – the 30-40% raises the managers gave themselves.

  • spartikus

    Um….42 days off is 8 1/2 weeks in the real world.

    Um…in the real world, vacation time in collective bargaining agreements is measured as days, not weeks. If you didn’t want to mislead, you’d refer to it as it is in the document.

    Another thing you might want to do, if your intention wasn’t to mislead, would be to mention the unionized employee gets 30 days of vacation/yr after 13 years of service. That’s an important thing to note if you wanted to discuss the matter honestly, wouldn’t you say?

    As for “flex time” – Perhaps you’ve confused it with the compressed work week, which isn’t “a perk” – it’s a revenue neutral method of scheduling.

    “It is expressly agreed that the various formulas which are to be included within all new
    agreements, are to be based upon the principle that any adjustment from a 5-day week
    is to be accomplished with neither any additional salary or benefit cost to the Employers nor any reduction in the salaries or benefits received by their employees.”

    pg. 95

  • LP

    So it seems as though Jack didn’t take his beano. This is for you Jack.

    Every (read that – EVERY) employee I have let go was done so after a prolonged effort to correct the behaviour that was not acceptable to my companies. Further, it was fully documented and was never (again – NEVER) a surprise to anyone that it was coming. It never should be.

    In all my time of “whacking” people, I’ve only had one person who threatened a lawsuit, which never came. He didn’t fulfill the employment requirements of his probation and he had no grounds as his lawyer quickly pointed out.

    The reason I know about various packages and what is most likely awarded in court settlements is because I made the effort to be fair to those people I did let go.

    One last note, I’ve never let anyone go before a Christmas party, any celebratory company event or in the month of December for that matter. Also, letting people go on a Friday or after a full day of work is abhorant behaviour that should never happen when relieving someone of their duties.

    So to be clear there was never any bi-polarness in my management skills, and my comment was meant for those that are being let go for “differences in opinion”, “directional changes”, etc.. where the employee was not let go for any violation of city policy, emplyment defiencies or contract violation, but rather because Vision (or in the future the NPA) fires people without proper/just cause.

  • LP

    And Spartikus we never did meet at high-noon that day………

    At least you’re staying on point in this thread as opposed to your usual behaviour of trying to debate using topics not in the discussion.

    As for whether I understand “…the Canadian system of labour relations….”, you took my statement far to literally.

    It was intended to be a tongue in cheek slam to the variety of unions that use talking points like “we’re looking out for you the parent, the patient, the homeowner (re: garbage collection), etc., etc., etc..

    As for my comment on the next pay request being exorbitant, it most likely will start that way. It certainly won’t start at 0% will it?

    As the city continues to whack management that doesn’t agree with them, or is GC linked, or KB linked, or is NPA linked, or in the future VV linked, it will have an impact on contract settlements whether you like to admit it or not.

    For anyone like our city hall insider to suggest those with ties to previous admin needs to be axed and the settlements are worth it, is just plain bullshit.

  • glissando remmy

    Hello Vancouver, my manic-depressive friend.
    Hot. Hot in here.
    Wow, I am leaving the urban chit-chat fountain unattended for a few hours and the hormones are flying! I’m reading the posts like I’m reading a medical chart; PMS, male menopause, hot flashes, you name it, it’s all here!
    Phew, hot in here!
    Soon I’ll have to unbutton my own skin.
    No temper for me anymore, you guys took away everything I’ve got.
    Hey, it’s weekend time, have a nice meal, open a bottle of Red, get laid (no seriously, get laid) and I’ll hear from you next week.
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • LP

    Sometimes glissando you’re very funny, other times I just don’t get you. I need to put on a depends after reading that post though.

  • rf

    Sparktius, there is a fundamental difference between people who work, and people who “work the system”.
    Collective bargaining represents the 18% who seem more concerned about “working the system”, than working.
    The real world is where the rest of us work.

  • MB

    It’s obvious there are many working worlds, but only one claims to be the real one.

    I really wish one old employer in the “real” world would pay me that 200+ hours of overtime he still owes me — earned within the first six months of meeting his imposed employment requirements. And that’s six months without one single day off. In a professional design office, not some satanic mill.

    You remind me of that dude, LP. All disciplinarian with little earned loyalty from his employees, low office morale with the attendant high turn over, and an inordinate amount of effluent spewage about the public sector — except, of course, when his favourite Neocons are in power.

    No surprise, I walked out. After that experience I was actually grateful for several O% contracts (1% if we were lucky) over the next 15 years in two municipalities (not Vancouver).

    Only recently have there been raises and benefits in negotiation between management and unions, offered first I have to say by management, that resulted in quick settlements and labour peace. Everywhere but Vancouver, that is, where management, guided by the political ad hocism of the previous council majority, forced the city employees into a three-month strike.

    Though I have had a large range of experiences (good + bad, but mostly good) in both the private and public sectors, and pride myself on working years on both sides of the fence, that one bad experience stands out in my mind when reading your comments.

    It would be really interesting to hear from some of your employees. … anonymously, of course, because I get the impression you’d fire them if you could ID them. After xmas and never on a Friday, of course.

  • spartikus

    The real world is where the rest of us work.

    A very thoughtful and persuasive counter-argument you’ve made, filled with citations and reasoned analysis. Touche.

    I was wondering though: Is this the same real world where median wages have stagnated for 2 decades?

    Is it, perhaps, the real world where the wealth of the top 10% has increased dramatically?

    Or maybe it’s this real world of yours where all teachers are obese? Of course, perhaps didn’t mean all teachers. I’m sure the ones at St. Georges and Crofton House are lean and buff. Like Milton Friedman.

  • LP


    Actually I have great relationships with many of my former employees. I won’t bother writing more and trying to prove anything to you because you’ve already cast disbelief on what I’ve written, which I think is off base. In essence you’re calling me a liar by suggesting I would do the very things I stated I do not.

    If it were possible and realistic I would put you in touch with some to let you hear that for yourself. Honestly though it’s a blog and we (should) have better things to do then check references.

    There are those of us in the private sector that do treat their employees very well, even with tough expectations. It’s unfortunate that you were unable to experience that, and I mean that sincerely.

    My dislike for unions isn’t because I like to abuse my employees and a union would stand in my way, rather quite the opposite. If more employers treated their employees better, they wouldn’t need to exist.

    That said, many unions have grown too powerful and political in nature (IMHO) and they are not serving society well any longer. In fact I would say many are detrimental to society.

    CUPE happens to be one of those unions.

    Although you folks like to blame Judy Rogers and Ken Dobell, Gordon Campbell, Sam Sullivan, etc for all the city hall labour woes…really who is to blame?

    Isn’t that sort of like the argument of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

  • Charlie Harper

    Nobody forced Cupe on strike. They chose to go on strike.

  • rf

    Same real world.
    Parents couldn’t afford to send me to Saints. Now I work my butt off so my kid can. Imagine that?

    Most know it all Marxists defaulted on student loans….how much did you stiff the rest of us for?

    You seem geniunely knowledgeble and intelligent….what a waste.

    “It is a peculiar thing about liberals. When it comes to middleclass
    people who are fully capable of caring for themselves,
    liberals seek to undermine their independence in every way
    possible. With seductive ‘entitlements’ like guaranteed
    retirement, health care, nutrition, education, and jobs, Liberals
    attempt to lure the middle class into dependence on the state.
    But when it comes to those who are truly incompetent, those
    whose mental afflictions render them unable to manage their
    lives at all, liberals are suddenly transformed into absolutists
    for person autonomy”. -Mona Charen

    Help yourself to the last word.

  • MB

    LP, you said, “If more employers treated their employees better, they [unions] wouldn’t need to exist.”

    I agree. And I commend you for maintaining good relations with youir employees. That is contrary to the social Darwinism RF espouses with his/her Mona Charen quote.