A citizen asked this to the City’s information line: “What measures, means, processes, or rights are in place in the City of Vancouver for a citizen, group of citizens, or organization to request the City to conduct an official performance review of a public servant employed by the City, or a performance review of an entire department?”
Here was the answer from email@example.com: “If you have a direct concern with a specific employee or a department, the route of complaint would be to the manager of the department. If you have gone through that process and you are still not satisfied with the outcome then you can escalate your concerns to the Mayor and Council.”
Taxpayers and citizens are really the employers of our Mayor, Councillors, and public servants working at City Hall. We entrust the “performance appraisals” of our individual employees to the administration and senior managers at City Hall, and ultimately to our Mayor and Council.
But more specifically, how is performance appraised on behalf of the public? On what criteria? How do we trust that the appraisals are being done fairly (fair not only for the employee but also for the public)? Citizens witness and experience the performance of the public servants every day and in some ways have perspectives and information that even a manager may not have.
CityHallWatch has researched and provided (here) information on codes of conduct, guidelines and professional standards. In addition, in some cases, as a service to the public, we obtain job descriptions for important positions at City Hall, in order to raise awareness and empower citizens to review the performance of the people they ultimately employ. In general we focus on the position and the performance rather than on names of individuals. We wish to emphasize the “personnel” (service to the public) rather than the “personal” aspects of this discussion.
We welcome comments, and from time to time, depending on input received from citizens, may consider “escalating concerns to the Mayor and Council.” Our goal is to support an accountable, efficient, well-functioning City Hall that truly serves the public interest.
Selected job descriptions are below: