by Phil Melnychuk, Black Press
Maple Ridge council let go of economic development manager Sandy Blue on Tuesday, saying it wanted to go in a different direction.
Blue, who’s been manager of strategic economic initiatives for since 2008, was relieved of her position Tuesday.
In November, Blue was elected for the first time to Abbotsford council, where she lives, as part of the Abbotsford First team.
But Mayor Nicole Read says the decision of council had nothing to do with that.
“It was all about fit,” she said.
“We need to deliver a strong economy in Maple Ridge going forward. We need to make some changes in order to do that.”
Read said people in last year’s citizens’ survey said they wanted more jobs and more shopping to come to Maple Ridge. The city is now working on a change in economic development strategy and, therefore, wanted a new person to lead the four-person economic development department.
“I think our direction will be very much aimed at deal closing,” said Read. “People have to know you exist in order to make a decision to invest here.”
Just before the November 2014 civic election, Coun. Corisa Bell wondered about Blue running for election in Abbotsford.
How could Blue have the time to sit on Abbotsford council while managing Maple Ridge’s economic development, Bell asked in September.
Blue, though, said then she didn’t see any conflict.
As Maple Ridge’s manager of strategic economic initiatives, Blue made $107,676 in 2013. As one of eight councillors in Abbotsford, she’ll make about $37,500 a year, ($5,000 less than Maple Ridge councillors make.)
Blue said her work schedules didn’t conflict. Maple Ridge’s Monday morning council workshops, during which she sometimes gave presentations, start at 10 a.m., while Abbotsford committee meetings begin at 3 p.m.
Read said Blue’s severance will be determined by the city’s human resources department. Council will be conducting a national search for a replacement.
Blue did not return requests from Black Press for comment.