A gag order for city staffers at City Hall? Actually, no

When veteran city hall reporter and blogger Frances Bula got shut down by city communications staff this week, she blew a gasket.

There was no doubt in her mind why she was not called back. It was a directive right from the top, from Vision Vancouver operatives, whose “struggle for control” has “gone too far.”

Within hours, Sun reporter Jeff Lee had seconded Bula’s motion, noting a “corporatization of information at City Hall that extends well beyond the freedom of citizens to ask of their bureaucrats an explanation of what they are doing.” Not to be outdone, the Georgia Straight‘s Charlie Smith termed the development “incredible” and declared that “Vision politicians should be ashamed of themselves.”

As someone who had no knowledge of the alleged Vision directives, was baffled by Bula’s experience and had not noticed any decline in the flow of information, attributed and otherwise, to journalists and bloggers, I was interested to read City Manager Penny Ballem’s explanatory memo, circulated today to the Mayor, council and the senior management team.

I was particularly interested to read Ballem’s apology, how the mistake had occurred, the actual policy and the news that the city’s Director of Communications has apologized to the journalists concerned.

Sounds like a mistake was made. That’s about it.