March 20, 2010 - By Frank Kurz

Vancouver - I've recently been featured in several blogs and local news stories around town. I've been interviewed by the Vancouver Courier, Journal of Commerce, CKNW, and ace reporter Alex Tsakumis. They all touch on the safety issues (and some others) raised in the wake of Vancouver's Chief Electrical Inspector (and City Electrician) Arkady Tsisserev's dismissal. What's deeply troubling is the way the city's management and Mayor have handled the very public outcry from industry stakeholders, citizens, the engineering community, and even some City Councillors, all expressing concerns over the deteriorating state of life and electrical safety in the City of Vancouver. To my knowledge, not one of hundreds of such letters and emails have been answered and it now appears that the reason for this rests on a few brief comments aired by CKNW which were made by Russ Chamberlain (Mr. Tsisserev's Lawyer). Yes, there's nothing like a Lawyer commenting on safety issues to clear the air about our baseless accusations.

On Monday, March 15, 2010, at 4:00 PM the Mayor was still denying any knowledge of Arkady Tsisserev's illegal dismissal, continuing on in the same fashion he had from the very beginning when the story first broke (that he wasn't involved in staffing issues). Then, suddenly, at 4:30 PM, things took a dramatic turn - I'd go so far as to call it a complete about face. In a surprising statement made to CKNW reporters, Mayor Robertson admitted to his involvement in an early morning in-camera Council session on January 21st which discussed the appointment of a new City Electrician to replace the outgoing Tsisserev. And on that fateful afternoon, the City lost one of its greatest assets and started down a path that has lead to service reductions, diminished staff moral, and an atmosphere poisoned by fear and distrust. March 21st will see the departure of the Electrical Inspection Department's Quality Control Coordinator and Training Officer, Bob Cornwell. His sixty days will be "up".

Bravo, Mayor Robertson. Bravo.

Doesn't it strike you as the least bit odd that Council would hold a meeting to discuss the appointment of a new City Electrician while there was one still on the job (Ark was dismissed much later in the day)? Isn't it strange how the Mayor kept repeating the same tired lines ("I'm not involved in staffing issues",and "I don't know anything about that") for two months when it's perfectly obvious he was aware of exactly what had happened WHEN it happened?

Bravo, Mayor Robertson, Bravo.

There's some good news! In the wake of all this, the City is on a hiring spree. It's looking for an assistant Chief Building Official (starting wage $120K) and the number of staff in the city manager's office has significantly increased (almost doubled). What, you might ask, is going on? You let two go and you hire six? Will Johnston, the new City Electrician (a structural engineer) now has to pay outside independent third party consultants to help him in determining the validity of variation requests and applications for deviations by electrical contractors and designers. The city has almost quadrupled (if not more) the amount of money it is now spending from what it was before January 21st. And for what? Improvement in service? Safety? Job security? Hardly!


Editorial Archives

March, 2010



Points of Interest:
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Budgetary restructuring is the new synonym for catastrophic changes that threaten to undo all the years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication a number of individuals have expended to make Vancouver the centerpiece of Canadian life and the best place to live and work on earth. It's not only pushing us further into the fiscal hole, it's also negatively impacting the Mayor and Counci's Green Initiative. Ark Tsisserev was spear-heading the regulatory and infrastructure requirements for a city wide electric car charging program which would have achieved another milestone for Vancouver in North America, and which has now been indefinitely stalled.

Bravo, Mayor Robertson. Bravo.

You promised us honest, transparent, and accountable governance. The Olympics will be remembered by many as one heck of a good party, but January 21st will stand as a dark beacon for ineptitude, dishonesty, perfidy, and moral penury.

Bravo, Mayor Robertson. Bravo.

Related stories and articles on this site:

In case you missed it, you can read my Message to the Mayor and Council HERE!
There's a previous Editorial HERE.
February had one news item located HERE.
Another news article from March is located HERE.
An April Tech-News item can be found HERE.
A Tech-News Special Report is located HERE.


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