Vancouver city manager terminated; receiving $556,000 in severance

The City of Vancouver’s decision to part ways with their city manager Dr. Penny Ballem is coming at a hefty price — more than $500,000 in severance pay.

Ballem, who has been city manager since Vision Vancouver took power in 2008, was terminated after a vote by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and city council. According to the announcement released today by the mayor’s office, the $556,000 in severance pay is in accordance with Ballem’s contract.

WATCH: At a press conference Tuesday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the termination of city manager Dr Penny Ballem

“Dr. Penny Ballem has been an exceptional city manager, driving transformative change across the organization over the past seven years and demonstrating outstanding commitment to the City of Vancouver and all of its residents,” said Robertson.

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“As we look toward making continued progress on Vancouver’s most significant priorities, Council has decided that our city’s toughest challenges will benefit from a new approach and a fresh perspective.

Ballem helped oversee the 2010 Winter Olympics, the financial turnaround of the Olympic Village and the recent regulation of illegal marijuana dispensaries.

WATCH: Why is Penny Ballem out of a job?

The city said they will conduct an international search for a new city manager as well as ask for a compensation review for the position.

In the interim, Sadhu Johnston will serve as acting city manager. Sadhu has been the deputy city manager for six years.

Robertson said, “with an experienced staff team and new leadership in the City of Vancouver administration, I am very confident that we can expand Vancouver’s success as one of the greenest, most innovative, and most inclusive cities in the world.”

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~ with files from Canadian Press

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