Surprising news this morning that a corporate reorganization has eliminated the position of Vice President, Planning & Policy so Mike Shiffer is no longer with TransLink. Service and Infrastructure Planning will now report through the Chief Operating Officer. Strategic Planning will report to the the VP Corporate & Public Affairs.
He gave a talk at SFU early in 2010 (which was reported here) which showed his depth of knowledge and understanding of the issues. This was soon after he arrived here, so he managed to survive for three years. Apparently he wants to stay here.
The reorganization is just one more indication of the damage that the current insistence on audits and cutbacks is having on the organization.
UPDATE Thanks to a tweet from Paul Hillsdon I have a link to Ian Jarvis memo to staff in a Surrey leader story
The role of planning – and especially Strategic Planning – is always difficult since it seeks to bring objectivity and rationality to an arena where all too often passions and gut instincts hold sway. We are not alone in this as the current pantomime in Toronto over rapid transit expansion shows – or the latest brouhaha in the London Mayoral elections, where the future of the hop-on, hop-off bus is once again at the top of the agenda.
Planning should most definitely NOT be about PR and spin which is what “Corporate & Public Affairs” are all about. That’s the place where they believe that perception is reality. And we all suffer for that.