Councillor Sandy Blue was fired from her position as Economic Development Manager with the City of Maple Ridge this week. This simple change in staff is not simple at all. Here’s my opinion about Maple Ridge’s decision and what it means for Abbotsford.
Let’s begin with some full disclosure.
Sandy Blue is a member of the Abbotsford FIRST team and a fellow candidate in the last election. During the year prior to the election, I had the opportunity to really get to know Sandy on both a personal and professional level. When I say “get to know” I don’t mean on a casual conversation basis, rather I do mean that as a potential running mate, she opened much of her life up to her teammates, just as we did for her, so that we could all make informed decisions on whether or not to commit to each other as a team of candidates. That takes trust and we did our due diligence.
What we discovered about Sandy is that she may very well be the best performing Economic Development Manager in the Lower Mainland.
Consider that she played an integral part in the development of the Invest North Fraser program.
Consider that she ushered in one of the most successful economic periods in Maple Ridge’s history. This fact was recognized by the Real Estate Investors Network (REIN), who stated in a Facebook post that appeared alongside the Abby News article, that Sandy was one of the key reasons that they assessed Maple Ridge so highly in their “Top Economic Towns Report”. Interestingly, you can see their comments on their Facebook page here, but it seems that the comment has been removed from the Abby News feed (it no longer appears below the article, nor on the Abby News Facebook wall).
That’s no surprise at all. We all know where the Abby News stands on politics. Generally speaking, they choose the side that is not in the best interest of the citizens of Abbotsford.
Don’t read “sour grapes” into that comment. It is a statement of fact. They were in favour of Plan A. They were for the Stave Lake Water Project. There are many examples of the Abby News taking a position in favour of something that did not turn out beneficial to our community, or would plainly not have done so.
They have the right, however, to take any position they want. Just as I have the right to voice my opinion in opposition to those things.
You’re job is simple. Listen to both arguments and decide who’s right. In this case, the Abby News told you half the story.
The other half is that the City of Maple Ridge has “decided to go in a different direction”. Sandy Blue brought investment, growth and both national and international investment recognition to Maple Ridge. Choosing a different direction is purely a political statement to cover up a political decision.
You…all of you….should be very angry about this.
It means that your leaders continue to prefer to play games than to act in the best interest of your community.
If you live in Maple Ridge, you should know that economic development and investment is built on networking and personal relationships. By any standard, Ms. Blue was successful and could only build on that success. Someone new must now start over … from scratch.
That is why the REIN notes her specifically when they cite reasons for rating the city so highly in their Report.
You may also be angry that the Abbotsford News has decided to continue to play games with stories like this instead of doing the full job that journalists are supposed to do … but truly, I don’t care about that.
You should be angry at yourselves though. Yep … that’s right. You!
Read some of the comments on this on Facebook, and I’m sure the Abby News will print a letter or two reflecting the same feelings, and you’ll see people whining about how Sandy “double-dipped” her salary and how could she possibly have done a good job for both communities. Her $100K a year salary resulted in $100 million in investment that wasn’t coming to Maple Ridge before Sandy was hired.
Let me tell you something folks. You just spent more than a decade having old, grey haired retired men run your City Council and they did nothing. In fact, they were so out of touch with you and your community that they nearly bankrupted you. More than a 40% increase in Property Taxes, doubling of water rates, millions spent on Plan A and the Abbotsford Heat. They had all the time in the world to mess this town up.
You needed better leadership. Young, vibrant performers like Sandy who would bring new ideas and get something done instead of collecting their pay and “phoning it in” every other Monday was the whole motivation behind the Abbotsford FIRST team.
So, will this be beneficial to Abbotsford? Will Sandy now have more time for us?
The answer is plainly no. Sandy gave 100% yesterday and she’ll give 100% tomorrow. She will also look for new challenges and projects to take on while serving as a City Councillor. Why? Because that’s what people who get things done and succeed at them do.
That attitude creates energy and movement and progress. Thankfully, you voted for that Abbotsford and that is what you will get from Sandy every single day.
In the coming months, the City of Maple Ridge will feel the tangible effects of this political decision. Investment will flow elsewhere but the politicians will be happy … and that’s all they care about.
Do you know why Sandy ran for City Council? Do you think it was for the money? Do you think it was to fill up her downtime with an extra 30 or more hours per week of work? Don’t you think she knew it was possible that she could lose her $100K per year job and be left with the $38K per year Council salary?
Perhaps some of you should entertain the notion that Sandy Blue felt so strongly that Abbotsford needed a change that she was willing to sacrifice her free time, and now her job, so that she could contribute to finally making this community a better place for the first time in more than a decade.