Council’s audit committee has heard about a culture shift at City Hall. it’s out of lessons learned in the continued making of the Metro Line. There was a time employees, Mayor Don Iveson said, would want to keep bad news, quiet.
“I think of some of what happened with the Metro Line was I think there were probably staff who said I’m not sure this is going to work. But the culture of the day was council doesn’t to hear that. Council wants to get on with this. Council wants to close the airport. Council needs the LRT line on the airport lands to do that. So politics was driving the day rather than good project management.”
“I think bad news was not well received. I think the culture was you weren’t a team player if you weren’t helping to advance the agenda and people would get upbraided for that.”
City manager Linda Cochrane said she wants city staff to own up when things aren’t going as planned. “Nobody likes surprises. and even if we anticipate something controversial or awkward or what ever might happen, we’d rather declare it upfront and tell you what we’re doing about it.”
Cochrane said going public with an explanation early of why something is wrong, is way better than a late explanation of hindsight. “That’s a much easier story to tell than how we screwed up.”
Iveson said several employees lost their jobs over the Metro Line mistakes. More than two years after it’s original target date, it still isn’t running properly.