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Adair appointment confirmed + more in Ballem memo

July 17th, 2009 · 9 Comments

This memo from city manager Penny Ballem is making the rounds today at city hall. I’m curious about the hint when it comes to the new deputy city manager. Who could it be? There have been rumours of at least one strong internal candidate for this one.

We await the news.


Penny Ballem, City Manager

MEMORANDUM July 16, 2009


Corporate Management Team

Ken Bayne, General Manager, Business Planning and Services

Laurie Best, Director of Communications

Francie Connell, Director of Legal Services

Jim Chu, Chief Constable, Vancouver Police Department

Patrice Impey, General Manager, Financial Services Group

Peter Judd, General Manager, Olympic and Paralympic Operations

John McKearney, General Manager, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services

David McLellan, General Manager, Community Services Group

Susan Mundick, General Manager, Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation

Kevin Ramsay, General Manager, Human Resource Services

Tom Timm, General Manager, Engineering Services

Paul Whitney, City Librarian, Vancouver Public Library


Penny Ballem, City Manager


City Manager’s Update

As the August Council break approaches, and people begin to head off on well-earned vacations, I would like to reflect on the great work that has been done over the first half of the year, and share with you some upcoming organizational changes that will allow us to move forward strategically with many of the challenges and opportunities we face as we move into an extraordinary fall and winter.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of people all over the organization, we have made real progress on an ambitious council agenda and diverse ongoing operational priorities—from bringing attention and resources to the City’s homelessness issue to creating more opportunities for sustainable commuting for staff and residents alike. The successful introduction of the Burrard Bridge Lane Reallocation Trial this week is a testament to the ability of our departments to work together to deliver a complex initiative.

Our preparations for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games continue, with every department and agency now fully engaged in planning how we will continue to provide excellent services to residents and visitors while taking full advantage of this tremendous opportunity for our city to shine on the world stage.

With your support, the Vancouver Shared Services Review (VSR), led by our Chief Financial Officer Patrice Impey, is moving forward very quickly. The Project Team is doing an excellent job gathering and analyzing your input, and the results of this review will be critical as we move into discussion of the 2010 operating budget. Our Corporate Business Planning Process, led by Karen Levitt, is also underway and is well aligned with the VSR. I am very appreciative of the broad involvement of staff across the organization in support of these initiatives.

In the rest of this memo, I would like to share with you key organizational changes which are underway to help us meet urgent challenges and opportunities.

In the context of the transformative opportunities arising from the Shared Services Review and Council’s motion on Open Data, Open Standards, Open Source, I am delighted to announce that Roger Fast has agreed to delay his plans for retirement and rejoin us for the next two years as the City’s new Chief Information Officer.

Roger has done a superb job on some of our most challenging system projects; his experience and knowledge of the City’s IT infrastructure and operations will help us expedite implementation of a coherent and comprehensive plan to modernize our approach to accessing and engaging with municipal information and data. In order to align with opportunities coming out of this shared services review and to expedite the integration of our city-wide systems with our financial information, the Corporate Information Technology Group, headed by Roger, will move into the portfolio of the Chief Financial Officer, effective August 4, 2009.

Open access to civic information underscores the need for a dramatic and significant shift in our web-based communications. Vancouver has the potential to become a North American leader in the use of the web technologies to engage and communicate with its citizens. Driving toward this goal will require skills, dedication and vision. Using the capital funds in place to undertake this work, I have asked Laurie Best to step away from her current communications role to work with the Chief Information Officer in leading a new Web Redevelopment Project.

Over the past 15 years of her public-sector career, Laurie has built a strong track record in both complex project management and innovative, award-winning web development at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. This work will be her focus over the next two years.

Being Host City for the 2010 Winter Games brings remarkable opportunities for Vancouver. We need to leverage these to our full advantage as we consider the implications of hosting government leaders from around the world. In addition, the commitments of the provincial and federal governments to stimulus and infrastructure funding, the significant policies and capital infrastructure plans under consideration by Metro Vancouver, Translink and member municipalities; and the complex environment of First Nations relationships all point to a need for enhanced intergovernmental activities at a senior staff level.

I am pleased to announce that Robin Adair will be joining the City on July 20, 2009 as General Manager, Intergovernmental Relations and Strategic Partnerships.

Bringing with him extensive experience and expertise in building partnerships with provincial and federal governments, the business community and the media, Robin will be working over the next 18 months to build a platform for these critically important relationships. To align our activities in these areas, Assistant City Manager Wendy Au will move into Robin’s portfolio, along with Protocol and External Relations, and Corporate Communications. Robin, Laurie and I will be working together over the next few weeks to ensure the plans for the significantly increased communications demands of the coming year are sufficiently resourced.

Finally, as you may know, the search for a new Deputy City Manager is well underway, and I hope to announce a successful candidate in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I am very pleased with the appointment of our own John McKearney last week as the City’s new Fire Chief and General Manager, Fire and Rescue Services. I know you will heartily join me in welcoming him officially to this key post. Congratulations again, John.

Please share this memo among your staff, and convey my very best wishes to everyone in our great organization for a safe and wonderful summer.

Penny Ballem, MSc MD FRCP

City Manager

tel: 604.873.7626
[email protected]


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