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Parks board chief fears loss of autonomy

A Vancouver Parks commissioner is worried that Canada’s only electedparks board may lose some of its autonomy if city hall helps choose itsnew general manager.

A Vancouver Parks commissioner is worried that Canada’s only elected parks board may lose some of its autonomy if city hall helps choose its new general manager.

NPA commissioner Ian Robertson said having city manager Dr. Penny Ballem involved in the hiring and management of the new parks GM is “a recipe for disaster.”

“I am quite concerned for the future of the board and its independent nature,” Robertson said.
“We are not like any other board or department in the city.”

In a motion before the board tonight, Robertson is calling for the board to be the exclusive body responsible for the hiring and management of the Parks general manager.

However, Vision Parks chair Aaron Jasper said the city has always had some involvement with the hiring of the parks manager.

Candidates will be shortlisted by a recruitment firm for a committee made up of three or four commissioners in addition to Ballem. Their recommendations will then come before the entire board.

“She’s there to advise us,” Jasper said.

“She’s there to help us understand how this person — while they answer to us — is still part of her team ... At no time are we being spoon-fed or told who to hire.”