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Olympic project manager felt sidelined, hobbled

January 16th, 2009 · 7 Comments

Sources in city hall tell me that Olympic project manager Jody Andrews tendered his resignation today, effective immediately, after several weeks of being stripped of responsibilities and pretty much ordered not to talk to the public/media about the village.

The relatively young 40-something Andrews, who has worked at the city for 18 years, was put in charge of the Olympic village and Southeast False Creek overall in February 2005, as per this city news release back in the day. Although he’s an engineer and spent most of his time making sure that the village developers were carrying out the project according to city guidelines on design, sustainability, etc., etc., I understand that he was also the main negotiator with Millennium on financial issues. As one of my posters here noted, he also wrote the report recommending Millennium as the successful bidder. (I also linked in a previous post to a slide show he prepared for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on all the great things about the Olympic village.)

Presumably, that marked him as either a) someone who drank the kool-aid at city hall that convinced senior bureaucrats to delusionally think the Olympic village-Millennium deal was a good one, and therefore he had to go or b) someone who knew and could explain what the positives of the Olympic village project were, and therefore he had to go. Take your pick, depending on what your point of view of Olympics/the city/life is in general.

My colleagues at the Globe were unable to reach anyone from the Vision side who could offer an explanation. Councillor Geoff Meggs said, as far as he knew, Jody was talented but had walked in today and tendered his resignation. (You can read the full scraps of details we were able to get here.)

I should explain, for people who don’t understand how the city works, that while Jody would have been the negotiator or had his name on the report, he would have been part of a team that worked together. Finance director Ken Bayne and real-estate services director Michael Flanigan would have supplied numbers. The legal department would have weighed in from their end. Former city manager Judy Rogers would have been part of the team.

So everyone has got to be wondering who else is on the list to go at city hall.

Councillor Suzanne Anton called me a few minutes ago to get the news, as she’d been out for the night, and was stunned to hear it.

“Here’s a guy who’s given his life practically to the city He worked day in and day out. I don’t know how as a city we would attract top people at this stage.”

Suzanne said it seemed to her that he must have been forced out, which she can’t understand.

“It’s almost like they’re trying to sabotage the project. Do they want us to fail?” 

I, for one, am looking forward to the explanation from the city manager tomorrow about all this. I hope it will enlighten us all. I think I speak for everyone in the city when I say that it’s getting to feel a bit too much like a murder mystery around city hall these days, all these people disappearing with no explanation as to what’s happening.

We’ve had transparency about the numbers. Now it would be nice to get some transparency about all the employee corpses littering the halls.

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