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Vision’s green champion hired from Chicago becomes city manager

March 7th, 2016 · No Comments

There was a lot of praise last week for city council’s decision to hire Sadhu Johnston, the 41-year-old who has been deputy city manager since 2009 and then acting city manager since last fall, as the replacement for Penny Ballem. (My story here.)

(The only dissenter I found was Councillor George Affleck who said, without dissing Johnston, that the whole process made it seem as though the fix was in long ago. Affleck said that the city had interviewed several excellent candidates, contradicting rumours I’d heard that the headhunters had told the city that there was a certain hesitation among applicants given that the mayor had just fired his own hand-picked choice.)

People are seeing this as a sign of change in how the city will act, something that Johnston has been reinforcing. Even before getting the job, he called together all the former city planners who have been increasingly critical about city moves to ask for their advice.

He told me he’s had an hour-long talk with Bob Mackin, the reporter who has dedicated part of his career to filing FOI requests with the city, on how to improve FOI processes.

He spent Friday night responding to people on Twitter who had commented on his appointment, as well as tweeting out the story on same from the Vancouver Observer, the online publication that is run by Linda Solomon, the sister of Joel Solomon who has had a connection with Johnston for a very long time. (That late-night tweeting was even though he’s said that he wants to be a new role model for work-life balance!)

Now, people will be looking to see if he can live up to all of this. Certainly there’s a hunger for a different approach. Now, how to make that work in the current climate in the city.



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