City of Vancouver Department Reviews

Communications and our community resources

In the late seventies and early eighties, when Fritz Bowers was City Manager and Peter Leckie was the Director of Finance, I worked with each Department in the City of Vancouver over the course of a few years in a detailed review of what the department did and how this contributed to the interests of the community. This was at a time when interest was high on the ideas of annual or periodic zero based and program budgeting to force a forensic analysis and a focused decision making process in determining where and how to best to invest the financial and people resources of public and government agencies.

The City management and City Council of the time saw this as an investment in the idea of moving from a line item budgeting system to a program budgeting system.

Each review took several months as ideas and spending were re-aligned and the conversations the review was intended to invigorate took place. After the analysis, each department was to come to agreement on two questions. If the department was given ten per cent more to spend, what would it invest and what would be the contribution from the investment to the community or the City, and where would the department take the money from if they had to work with ten percent less in their budget.

In a creative community enterprise, decisions about where and how much to invest comes from the response of community contributors to ideas and opportunities which contribute to the creative interests and creative enterprise of the community

A system which keeps the community informed about the interests and ideas and enterprise and opportunities to invest which contributes to our common interests as individuals and as a community is what I would call a free enterprise system.