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Thread: Farbrother let go as City Manager

  1. #101
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    I hope they don't go out and get another City Manager like Al Maurer. I could never work for someone like that, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Life's too short.

    It seems from a distance that some people were in over their heads on some projects. Both the LRT boondoggle and the Infill Housing problems have seen really good things go sideways, or backwards.

    *** I still don't understand why the City seems powerless to act on clear violations on the part of unscrupulous "developers" (that's what their card says).

    One big problem is "Cover Your Butt Syndrome", where nobody wants admit responsibility for a mistake, so they keep it hidden. I don't know how you get around that in Government. The problem gets worse when an undressed relatively small mistake turns into a big one.

    Does anyone really know what's going on with the LRT signalling deal? I don't think I've ever seen two parties to a contract whose interpretation was so radically different.
    aka Jim Good; "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

  2. #102
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    Outgoing Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem is available for interviews it seems?

    Source

  3. #103

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    ^interesting she had a lower salary and received less severance even though she ran a larger city. I guess Vancouver pays less (even if it costs more), even for city managers. The Alberta "Severance" Advantage

  4. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^interesting she had a lower salary and received less severance even though she ran a larger city. I guess Vancouver pays less (even if it costs more), even for city managers. The Alberta "Severance" Advantage
    So, after tax, how does this severence compare with that of the thousands of hard working people being laid off here due to falling global oil prices (and not failing performance)?

    Dors the average worker needs something more, maybe a lawyer, when signing an employment contract?

  5. #105

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    ^I don't think the "average" person normally gets a choice, which is why there are "minimun" requirements per the courts. The only thing I have negotiated on contracts, aside from the salary, are details surrounding signing bonus / relocation and vacations.

  6. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^interesting she had a lower salary and received less severance even though she ran a larger city. I guess Vancouver pays less (even if it costs more), even for city managers. The Alberta "Severance" Advantage
    Actually City of Vancouver is a smaller city to run. It's is 600,000 with much less employees. Also, a lot of planning, for instance, is outsourced.
    www.decl.org

  7. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^interesting she had a lower salary and received less severance even though she ran a larger city. I guess Vancouver pays less (even if it costs more), even for city managers. The Alberta "Severance" Advantage
    So, after tax, how does this severence compare with that of the thousands of hard working people being laid off here due to falling global oil prices (and not failing performance)?

    Dors the average worker needs something more, maybe a lawyer, when signing an employment contract?
    Quote Originally Posted by GreenSPACE View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^interesting she had a lower salary and received less severance even though she ran a larger city. I guess Vancouver pays less (even if it costs more), even for city managers. The Alberta "Severance" Advantage
    Actually City of Vancouver is a smaller city to run. It's is 600,000 with much less employees. Also, a lot of planning, for instance, is outsourced.
    Don't mind moagoof, he's just trying to tie this into his "Alberta mis-spending anti-non-Wildrose" manifesto.
    Let's make Edmonton better.

  8. #108
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    From earlier this month - a good column on what we need for a city manager

    Both Edmonton and Vancouver fired their city managers but for opposite reasons
    http://www.metronews.ca/views/edmont...ut-for-op.html

    Just as Edmonton’s elected officials were firing Simon Farbrother, Vancouver’s city councillors were also preparing their city manager’s pink slip.

    The reasons for dumping the so-called “city CEOs” couldn’t have been more different: Farbrother, a charismatic team-builder, was so hands-off with senior managers’ files that our first LRT line since 1978 became a borderline boondoggle. In contrast, Penny Ballem was a strong-headed former physician whose micromanagement led to massive turnovers and hemorrhaged corporate knowledge.

    Maybe the municipalities should have just traded? Of course, both leadership styles have their pros ands cons. I’ve already mentioned the latter, but would the CityLab initiative for small, temporary urban projects have happened without Farbrother’s allowance for experimentation? And could Vancouver’s infrastructure have been Olympic-ready without an uncompromising manager?

    In council’s search for its next CEO, it’s not a matter of finding the right balance but finding the right balance for Edmonton — a city of a million with an aggressive plan to be one of North America’s most competitive cities. I reached out to a few current and former civil servants to understand what they need to get the city there.

    “Edmonton has big-city problems to deal with and needs a big city manager,” said one. “We struggle to throw small-town solutions to big problems.” There’s no central planning division, for instance, which seems to only encourage unco-ordinated project management, like the parks department being unaware of trail closures caused by drainage upgrades.

    Our councillors have a history of hiring top management from small cities — Regina or, in Fabrother’s case, Waterloo, who may be unfamiliar with the complexities of a major Canadian city. Our city shouldn’t shy from actively recruiting a major city’s top brass. If Farbrother’s $800,000 severance package proves anything, it’s that we can afford it.
    A city manager’s background, civil servants said, needs to be interdisciplinary — any combination of finance, law, infrastructure, business, social services and planning.

    But it’s more important that he or she is a strong communicator who can give staff a sense of direction. At the moment, Edmonton’s City Vision 2040 documents are vague and desperately need a leader who can streamline their messages to staff.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  9. #109
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    Edmonton's former city manager spent 200+ days travelling on taxpayers' time and money
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...oney-1.3538665

    Most of that travel was due to the Commonwealth Games bid and for heading the International City Managers' Association.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  10. #110

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    Is anyone surprised with this? Noone reviewing expense reports???? Given his 6 weeks vacation per year and over 200 travel days during his tenure pretty much a do nothing job i would say.

  11. #111

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    His number one job was the COE GM. He should have focused on fixing problems here at home.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  12. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by happydays View Post
    Is anyone surprised with this? Noone reviewing expense reports???? Given his 6 weeks vacation per year and over 200 travel days during his tenure pretty much a do nothing job i would say.
    Unfortunately, this is just how the world works.

    The guys at the bottom get scrutinized and squeezed for every penny and the guys at the top spend with abandon.

  13. #113
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    *SARCASM* In other news Farbrother and Redford have decided to open up a travel agency.

  14. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by happydays View Post
    Is anyone surprised with this? No one reviewing expense reports???? Given his 6 weeks vacation per year and over 200 travel days during his tenure pretty much a do nothing job i would say.
    Unfortunately, this is just how the world works.

    The guys at the bottom get scrutinized and squeezed for every penny and the guys at the top spend with abandon.
    How can someone be away so much and no one notice? If I was a Councilor and wanted to contact him and 90% of time he was unavailable, does that not raise questions?

    46 weeks x 5 days per week = 230 days less 200 travel days = only 30 full days per year in his office! Did he even have the time to sit in his chair or did he prefer to manage the COE from the 30,000 foot perspective*???

    * First Class, no doubt.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 19-04-2016 at 08:05 AM.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT
    46 weeks x 5 days per week = 230 days less 200 travel days = only 30 full days per year in his office! Did he even have the time to sit in his chair or did he prefer to manage the COE from the 30,000 foot perspective*???
    I'm not defending Farbrother or his priorities, but it was pretty clear in the article that the 200 travel days was over his 3.5 year tenure. That still means he was travelling "on business" for 25-30% of the time, which seems pretty high for someone who isn't the Foreign Minister of a national government.

  16. #116

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    Thanks for the correction
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

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