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Firing of Vancouver Athletic Commission chair no surprise

July 9th, 2010 · 3 Comments

I’ve been expecting the news that the chair of the Vancouver Athletic Commission was going to be fired for the last month and it finally happened yesterday.

As I noted in my Globe story a month ago, chair Mirko Mladenovic engaged in some fairly unusual behaviour at the commission, the likes of which I’ve never heard of any commission member doing in my 15 years covering the hall, as the city was grappling with how to regulate the recent UFC match.

According to various media reports, he argued with city manager Penny Ballem at a meeting about what level of insurance should be asked for from the UFC match organizers. He openly talked about insurance numbers, saying they should only have to pay $5 million instead of the $12 million Ballem was asking for — numbers that the city was trying to keep confidential. He brought his own lawyer in to one meeting. Et cetera, et cetera. And he repeatedly told media that the city was being obstructionist and endangering the chances of having a match.

A sign of what was coming is that the vice-chair, Dr. Jerome Yang, became the commission spokesman in the week before the match.

I’m sure some in the sports blogger world think he’s a hero. But just from a city-hall watcher point of view, it was astonishing behaviour from a city-appointed member of a city commission.

Mr. Mladenovic has been on the commission for three terms, so some are asking why he would fall afoul of the city only now. But the reality is that the athletic commission meets rarely because there are very few events for them to monitor. The UFC match really tested the abilities and skills of both city staff and the commission members in a way that was unprecedented.

The city is working to have former chief city engineer and head of Olympics preparations, the now-retired Dave Rudberg, put on the committee and made chair. Awaiting more news on that.

If you’re interested, more on this issue at Civicscene and the Vancouver Sun.

Categories: City Hall Talk