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.