Abbotsford Heat Payout

By May 6, 2014Letters

As a long time realtor and real estate developer, I consider myself fairly experienced in the art of negotiation. When this agreement became public I was curious about the terms and conditions and the overall process. I discovered that once again, the way in which our mayor and council govern is unwise and dysfunctional. The mayor and council need to work together on critically important issues that affect the entire City and it’s finances. This is my understanding of what happened.

1. Council and mayor gave the city manager authority to negotiate an end to the contract with the Abbotsford Heat. A maximum dollar amount of $5.5m dollars was set.
Mistake #1. When negotiating, you never give an emissary your final number ahead of time. That number will always end up as the default number. There’s no incentive to settle for less; at the very least there should be one back and forth between buyer and seller. And, any authority should note that council and mayor have to sign off the final document.

2. Not surprisingly, an agreement is reached in the amount of $5.5m.

3. Mayor Banman schedules a news conference (not telling council).

4. News of the settlement, and a press conference, leaks out. The news media call councilors for a comment, and they, completely taken by surprise, deny knowing about any press conference.

5. After the weekend Mayor Banman let’s council know about the press conference but he does not brief council on the details, or show them the final agreement.
Mistake #2 It’s a pretty safe assumption that all details could not have been foreseen prior to Murray given authority to negotiate a deal; e.g. terms of the payment, timing of payment, when would the Heat vacate, employee compensation, communication to the public etc. It’s mind boggling that the Mayor wouldn’t deem it necessary to include his council in on all the facts and details surrounding this crucial decision on one of the most controversial events in our City’s history.

Our mayor once again is showing a complete lack of ability in governing our city. And the majority of councilors are not holding him accountable. The fall election can’t come soon enough.

Fred Thiessen

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Bas Stevens says:

    Fred, I have no reason what so ever to doubt your word. Thank you for shedding light on this horrific miscarriage of responsibility.

    This indicates to me, two things:
    1) George Murray can not be trusted to do what is best for Abbotsford.
    2) Banman never was, and never will be, a team player. If he was the latter, Council would have been fully informed of negotiations and would have had some input.

    The only reason that I see Banman behaving in this manner is his fear of Henry Braun and his business acumen. Braun would not have allowed this buy-out to take place without major consultation from the rest of “the team”, i.e., Council.

    Once again, Banman shows that he is a one man wrecking ball destroying Abbotsford.

    This is just another reason not to vote for Banman in this fall’s election.

  • Walter Neufeld says:

    Another sad story from the City of Abbotsford

    Mr. Thiessen’s article is shocking because it shows us precisely how mayor & council’s unaware ineptitudes actually turn the gears of bad decisions.

    More shocking still is the sad fact that it needn’t be happening at all. George Peary had already shown Abbotsford how not to govern and yet mayor & council continue to plod down the same road and in the same rut that derailed him.


    They appear incapable of analysing the facts, knowing when to seek advisement, and, knowing how to choose the right advisors.

    In-spite-of those fundamental handicaps, triumphalism appears to roam at will. Banman “fearlessly negotiates” in that vacuum and out of his league.

    And the taxpayers are left holding the bag, once again.


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