Friday, October 28, 2011

Clark rips North Vancouver mayor over CAO review North Vancouver city manager Ken Tollstam's last peformance review: 2006

COUN. Rod Clark of the City of North Vancouver is harshly criticizing Mayor Darrell Mussatto for his handling of the city manager's performance reviews.

"I've been trying for three years to get a performance review and set annual goals for the city manager," Clark said in council Monday. "A far-too-cozy relationship has developed between the city manager and the mayor. The performance review and goal-setting for the city manager is the mayor's job."

Clark called for the city to "develop policy on a timely performance review of the city manager and annual goal-setting for this position," a motion that won unanimous support. His motion follows more than a year of verbal requests in council for an update on the review policy.

Ken Tollstam has been the city's top administrator since 1993, after holding a series of other senior posts at city hall. His $254,000 annual salary is the highest of any municipal bureaucrat on the North Shore. His most recent performance review was in 2006. Other senior staff positions at the city are reviewed annually.

Clark said Tollstam himself should have sought out another review of his performance at some point over the past five years. "There has been an almost total failure of accountability for our city manager's position," Clark said.

After the meeting, Clark struck an even more combative tone. "I think it borders on negligence that council hasn't done this and I lay this right at the feet of Darrell Mussatto," Clark said. "He's been the mayor since 2005. In 2006 there was the one cursory goal-setting and review of the city manager and nothing since.

"When I initiated the calls for the review, I was assured by Darrell Mussatto that we would get a report back from him about what Ken's intentions are with respect to retirement and how we would go about a 360 review of the city manager's position. And then nothing, absolutely nothing."

Clark wouldn't say if he had any specific complaints with Tollstam's performance.

Mussatto did not comment on the motion during the council meeting, but in an interview afterwards he said Clark's timing caught him by surprise.

"We had a discussion in camera last week and I felt council heard the answers they wanted to hear, so this just came right out of the blue for me," he said.

"Council agreed last week to do a review of Mr. Tollstam and Mr. Tollstam is going to come back with options, and how other municipalities do it. We agreed on that. So it's not like anyone's trying to hide anything. We'll have a company or a process that we can look at to evaluate Mr. Tollstam."

Mussatto said he expects to see options to consider within two to three weeks, and a new council will make the final decision following the Nov. 19 elections.

Mussatto also said he thought Clark had "a good point."

"We never had a policy with (former mayors) Jack Loucks and Barbara Sharpe. Does that mean it's OK for me not to have a policy? No. I have to take as much responsibility as the rest of council in this getting to five years," he said.

Tollstam said he had no problem with a performance review. Following the consultantled review of his work in 2006, he said, the council of the day dropped the process.

"It was taking up a lot of time and effort for them - these are their comments, not mine - and they didn't feel they were getting bang for their buck," he said. "They thought the better method was to work with the mayor dayin, day-out. We always have meetings every month, just the CAO and council to talk about issues. . . . Council picks out the options they want us to focus in on, whether it's more affordable housing, something in the cultural area, pools, rinks, whatever. My mission is to make it happen."

balldritt@nsnews.com


40 comments:

John Sharpe said...

I intended to post this as well as per an Anon request.

sue lakes cook said...

Total salaries for the City of North Vancouver Fire Department for the year 2011:

$7,007,700.00

This is for 66 Firefighters. The questions are- does this include benefits and/or overtime?

sue lakes cook said...

sorry should be the year 2010 = although I do wonder how much more we will be paying in 2011 or 2012?
Good thing the Federal Government is selling us out to wealthy immigration and foreign ownership Local incomes will not be able to support Union workers for very much longer.
Good bye to the younger people, to those who built this community, to all who work in the service/retail areas - we are no longer welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Sue-

Do you intentionally fail to ask obvious questions so that you can continue to publish your name on the blog?

If you have been given TOTAL SALARIES then you have total salaries inclusive of overtime and salary related benefits. Sheeeesh.

We could just as easily have published the total cost of the city finance dept. and wondered why that service isn't contracted out. Same for garbage pickup.

Why do we have a council and city manager to run Lonsdale and 10 blocks either side? What are their total salaries?

Your preoccupation with the fire dept. masks the real issue.

As you would say, "the question is" are we prepared to reduce our costs through contracting out and/or amalgamation of with the district?

If yes then let's save money. If no then accept that the staff salaries are on exactly the same pay scale as every other worker in a similar classification in Metro Vancouver.

If that's too expensive and contracting out and amalgamation are out of the question then ask the electorate if they want a service cut to pare taxes.

Garbage pickup every two weeks. Shorter library hrs. and all day cloaures. Longer line ups to pay taxes. Longer waits for permits and inspections. Fewer police officers and firefighters. Higher user pay costs at rec centres, parking metres on Lonsdale etc.

I highly doubt that service cuts will fly and saving a few bucks here and there will never staunch the march of tax increases so then it comes down to pay up or move out.

Anonymous said...

It has been well documented that by increasing funds to systems like heath care that results have done little to improve the services. Government lacks incentives and accountability. Improving services and reducing costs is a low or perhaps not even a priority in government especially so in local government. The statement “pay up or move out” can only come from a person that lacks understanding or holds a job funded by constituents.

Clark is right to go after the elitists in local government. The statement “far-to-cozy relationship” is probably the tip of the iceberg. The cosy relationship between managers-directors-human resources in a system that is only accountable to itself sets up and environment that can and will be abused.

Anonymous said...

The statement pay up or move out is entirely appropriate if the electorate rejects contracting out, amalgamtion or service reduction as the author stated.

Nickel and diming a bit here and there, reducing a a few positions in absence of above measures will not have an appreciable impact on increasing costs so pay up or move out will come to pass.

Full understanding of civic costs and not employed by civic gov't.

Anonymous said...

The pay up or move out is applicable to a funding model that has bottomless pockets.

Municipalities in the U.S are finding that bottomless pockets is getting a little peeved and are now facing funding problems. Will this be another government bailout or the next financial meltdown when the defaults occur with municipal bonds?

Anonymous said...

Pay up or move out is entirely appropriate if business as usual continues. i.e. no amalgamation,no contracting out, no service cuts.

Arbitrators will continue to award wage increases that exceed the CPI and the pockets, bottomless or otherwise, of the taxpayers will be fleeced.

New W.V. Mayor is quoted as stating, "...now negotiations will have to be about job preservation. If you're going to be talking about wage increases, we're going to be talking about layoffs."

Layoffs will result in incremental service reductions.

Is this likely to happen in the People's Republic of NV City? Unlikely.

Without this tough love all the "accountability" in the world is lost in the smoke and mirrors of civic gov't and we will indeed pay up or get out.

Anonymous said...

Sue,

Immigration policy has little to do with local government.

If you want to go after expenditures ask city hall to publish the financials of the LEC on the city web site. They post everything else about the LEC. Why this is not easily available for public scrutiny is puzzling.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand foreign property ownership policy has quite a bit to do with our property values.

Their is no doubt that the number non or part-time foreign residents purchasing n. shore properties is helping drive up property values.

In many of the "sun-belt" US states non-US citizen property owners pay a hefty property tax premium all the way up to triple property tax when compared to US owners of similar properties.

Also, they must hire US citizens to do work on their US properties.

We're too nice to consider such a thing so our property values are being partially driven by foreign ownership.

sue lakes cook said...

First may I say, I am not "out to get fire fighters", however they were the first group that I wanted the full salary total from.
Clark is right by taking a strip off Tollstam, because he is the biggest gate keeper ever and of PUBLIC money!!!
I believe every cent of public money should be readily available for the public to study if they so desire.
This transparency should be Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments.
I now want to know how North Shore Neighborhood House spends 4.5 million on salaries and expenses with an deficit of $100,000.00. I also want to know why their mission statement is in English and Farsi. Since when did Farsi become our official second language?

Anonymous said...

Sue, Farsi may not be an official language, but it is a major language within our community. A neighbourhood house, as well as all of our community services, should be inclusive. That means making communications easy for those of us who live here, including our newly arrived citizenry. You're coming of as quite the bigot. Which group are you going to attack next?

Anonymous said...

Sue said,

First may I say, I am not "out to get fire fighters",...

I can't see that quote anywhere on this thread. However, it does say that you have had a "preoccupation with the firefighters."

Given the posts for the past 3 weeks that's a pretty accurate statement.

sue lakes cook said...

We have other immigrant groups in the City as well, including those from Korea, China, non-English speaking Europe and a very large number of people from the philippines, so why is there not equal representation for those people?
In the City Library there is story time in English, French and Farsi, there are also more programs in Farsi then for other immigrant groups.
In the Spring there was a very comprehensive study for seniors which was in the Library, City Hall, John Braithwaite and North Shore Community Centre, again the only languages were in English and Farsi.
North Shore Neighborhood House as a program for Persian Women over the age of 55 in Farsi which is free, as well as bridge in Farsi and Hamrahan a program for Farsi speaking people.
The argument is that Farsi speaking people are the largest immigrant group to North Vancouver but why should that matter, we have always had waves of immigrants.
What I dislike the most is that I feel this is very likely making other immigrants feel that they are less important and I think all people should feel equal.
The Iranians are very educated and inteligent people and they have already sponsored All Candidates meetings for the Federal election and now one for the municipal level.
I would much rather see that mission statement with English and then the other copy with one line in Farsi, one in Mandarin , one in Cantonese, one in Korean dialect, one in Spanish, one in Tagalong, etc, etc. so that there is recognition of all the immigrant groups to North Vancouver both now and from the past.
I really don't care what you call me, I do not like to see a community that becomes fragmented, and I feel this is very quickly happening in the City of North Vancouver.
While it is wonderful to have slices of the whole world if possible this is still Canada and I think it is important to build a community on inclusion rather then exclusion.

Anonymous said...

Anyone heard if there is any truth to the rumour that the city hall renovation project is significantly over budget and the city ended up having to transfer funds originally budgeted for the library Leeds building over to the to the city hall renovation project?

Anonymous said...

That makes no sense. The library has been finished for quite some time, so how could money be taken from the library construction project to feed another that started well after it was complete?

What's the source of this rumour?

Anonymous said...

Sue, if you want an inclusive community, why do you insist on bringing race into your frequent rants? Your track record in this regard is pretty clear.

John Sharpe said...

Rod Clark has suggested we move the Municipal election day to October or even September? It would make campaining easier & up the turnout.

Anonymous said...

How would moving the date up make campaigning easier? How would it up the turnout? I don't understand the rationale. Also, why should the voter be concerned about making life easier for the candidates?

Anonymous said...

Here's what I want.

1. Candidates that have management/leadership/employer labour relations experience.

2. Candidates that don't take union or developer funding.

3. Candidates that don't repeat the stupid mantra that "they have to get people out of their cars." Seniors, parents with kids, people with disabilities, those with trips originating or ending at destinations not served by transit etc. are going to use cars. Get real and don't be so arrogant.

4. Candidates that are committed to representing the actual taxpaying electorate - not an imaginary electorate that they would prefer that are "young, vibrant, low income" or any of the other politically correct groups. Do your social engineering experiements on your own nickel - not mine.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

The next elections will take place in October. This is not Rod Clark's idea but rather a change ordered by the Provincial government. This coming council term is for 35 months.

George Pringle for Mayor said...

Actually, the change to voting day and many other changes were recommendations of a Provincial Task Force that didn't even make it to a Bill due to the leadership change.

Hopefully, it will come back but there is no reason to assume this. I've written to Minister Ida Chong to put something not recommended in - a ban on business and union donations.

sue lakes cook said...

Re: 3. Candidates that don't repeat the stupid mantra that "they have to get people out of their cars." Seniors, parents with kids, people with disabilities, those with trips originating or ending at destinations not served by transit etc. are going to use cars. Get real and don't be so arrogant.


It is absolutely time that we get people out of their cars, unless you want to live in a community which is dominated by pollution and total traffic congestion.
Improved transit should go hand and hand. I take the 239 to work from North Vancouver to Park Royal
and that route is stopping by all the major shopping centers (Park Royal, Capilano Mall, and Marine Drive). Both the 239 and 250 are continually croweded. I believe it is time that Transit brings in smaller buses in communities like Delbrook, Highlands and east of Seymor specifically designed to go the the main shopping areas.
Many seniors are choosing not to drive and yet they still want to get out and this kind of service would be of huge value to them.
As far as kids going to school - there is some reason why they cannot walk? Many school arrange "walking school buses" and I think this is an excellent idea.

Any candidate who wants to encourage more cars and car usage is completely irresponsible towards the future of this planet, not to mention our community.

As far as my comments being racist - you are obviously incapable of understanding the written word. Why don't you organize a public forum on immigration = in fact why hasn't an open forum on immigration ever been held on the Lower Mainland?

Anonymous said...

Sue, why would I organize a forum on immigration? I have no problem with immigration, nor with immigrants. You on the other hand don't seem to be able to post without coming down on minorities. Why does it bother you so much that Farsi is used in our community services? You need to look inward and not blame others for your own shortcomings.

Anonymous said...

Re people and cars.

Wrong, Sue.

1. Re cars and pollution. Encouragement, both finanacial by a sliding scale of licensing fees based upon your vehicle's carbon emmissions and legislative by setting goals for low/no emission vehicles should be put in place.

2. Making improvements to transit is fine. It is politically correct and arrogant to state in the same breath that people shouldn't be driving private vehicles for personal transport if the want to.

3. Continued improvemnts should be made to highways and streets to minimize congestion.

4. No, babies and children, lot's of seniors, physically impaired, and almost everyone else can't "walk" to many destinations.

5. Transit doesn't offer service from many trip origins and destinations.

6. Any candidate that repeats the stupid mantra, "we've got to get people out of their cars", is either thoughtless, arrogant or both and won't get my vote.

sue lakes cook said...

Regarding the use of Farsi in places funded by the public is a total insult to all the other immigrants who are settling in North Vancouver, and whose language is NOT being used. It makes it appear that the Iranian population are more "special" then the others (many of whom settled in the past and never got any kind of special services at all)
I think it also shows a lack of respect for all of those who founded this community and made it a place where immigrant populations want to live. Our official languages are English and French - every single person who immigrates to Canada is aware of that fact. Immigrantion is now a multi-million dollar program - most of which is funded by taxpayers - why, especially for those who are wealthy immigrants.
North Shore Neighborhood House said that 40% of their funding is going to new immigrants - again why? Under the family program family members are supposed to be supported for 10 years upon arrival in Canada (even if the couples divorce).
For you information I suggested two programs for both the Library and North Shore Neighborhood House.
One was an international food club whereby people could learn about ethnic food and spices, etc. and how to use them. (I would really like to try my hand at some international cooking!)
My second idea was the Native Talking Stick idea. That would involve having a mixed group of ethnic people and hopefully a member of Squamish First Nations, and as the stick was passed people could share where they came from, their experiences in Canada, etc.
Neither one of those ideas was accepted.
You say you do not have a problem with immigration - good for you, but there are many of us who do. We should have just as much a right to express our points of views without being immediately called bigots or racist, but unfortunately the politically correct (those who no longer allow freedom of speach folks) such as yourself are now in control.
Immigration is a priviledge not a right.

sue lakes cook said...

1. I am happy to say I do not have a car, nor do I want one. However I completely support the new smart cars or anything that helps cut down and eliminate pollution
2. I really question the amount of trips that most people take in their cars on their own. We only have one planet and I think it is worth more then a trip in a car to the store which is only 4 blocks away, taken by millions of people all over the world because they are just too lazy to walk.
3. You can do road improvements all you want but there are still only so many lanes of traffic on Marine Drive, Lonsdale Avenue, Mount Seymour Parkway. etc. More cars, more congestion - simple.
4. and 5. You are right, seniors and those with babies may be limited in getting around. I would also agree that the buses are very limited (although improved) in how many baby hotels and wheelchairs they can accomodate on any one trip. Ever notice that baby hotels (used to be strollers only were allowed on buses) come with families that seem to have the right to the front of the bus? Transit needs to have more "shopping shuttles" during the day for this very reason.
6. Any candidate that says "we must get people out of their cars" certainly gets my vote.

To change the subject what are the issues for school board candidates?

Anonymous said...

Given that you agree with most of my points re cars I claim victory in the debate.

If you prefer public transit I would never presume to state that you should own a car to lessen my subsides to you.

Similarly I resent your (and certain politicians) decision on my behalf that I should not use a private vehicle.

If we identify a candidate parroting that absurd "get them out of their cars" statement we can cancel each other's votes.

sue lakes cook said...

No one said you should not use a private vehicle - what I am saying is please use your vehicle in a responsible manner, and hopefully as a last resort.
I cannot tell you how much more relaxing it is to sit as a passenger, listening to music and reading a book, or just looking at the scenery out the window.
What a joy to save money by not owning a car, gas, insurance, maintenance - I became a slave to my car when I had one.
The amusement of watching human stories unfold every time I get on a bus, some good, some bad, but never boring.
The chance to converse with strangers on occassion and share a laugh now and then.
The extra amount of excercise I get by doing most of my shopping on foot, also walking to and from bus stops.
The great feeling that by not driving a car, this is just one little thing that I might be doing right in terms of my contribution to mother earth.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's great. You enjoy your time on the bus.

I enjoy my comfortable vehicle, cimate controlled, heated and molded seats, listening to music that I enjoy and while making my journeys rapidly and efficiently.

Let's make a deal. I won't support those that state that we've got to get them out of their busses and you don't support the ones that demand that we get them out of their cars.

sue lakes cook said...

and all of the creatures that are losing their homes because of climate warming thank you for your selfishness

Anonymous said...

The cause of climate warming is unresolved but one thing for sure, the deisel particulate carcinogens from numerous half-full busses circling their routes (subsidized by drivers) are much more harmful than the tiny emisssions from my vehicle which has the Transport Canada low emissions certification.

How could you be so cruel supporting such animal harmful machinery?

sue lakes cook said...

well darn it all, let's bring back the horse and buggy and we both will be happy.

Anonymous said...

Well if we do that will the walkers have politicians that demand that "we've got to get them out of their buggies!"?

sue lakes cook said...

no but they will probably demand the horses wear diapers which will seriously harm the production of fertilizer for the local community gardens. (and the pundits of this blog)

Anonymous said...

...present company included or excepted?

sue lakes cook said...

good one - back to the subject at hand. I have heard a rumor that none of the Managers at City Hall including Tollstam have written contracts. Does anyone know if this is true?

Anonymous said...

If managers, including the CAO, are "staff" then they do not have written contracts. Their wage rates are found within the exempt staff pay bands.

I believe that, at least one or both, of the N. Vancouver CAO's have quietly retired, are on pension, and are double-dipping and collecting a contracted salary too.

If that is the case then they should have a contract with the City or District.

The way to find out is to ask the Director of Finance or a councillor if the CAO is regarded as a "staff employee" or "contracted staff". They will know but may be reluctant to reply.

They must be one or the other.

Anonymous said...

Yes have a look at some of the nice contracts that have been signed by exempt staff at the city. 6 weeks holidays, lucrative wage, and no experience needed.

Anonymous said...

Exempt wages and benefits must be at least marginally better than the unions.

Why would they leave the union to make less than they do in the cozy union?

Of course the bosses make more than the workers.

Duh.