Breaking news that Brent Humphrey, life parter of City of Vancouver Corporate Communications Director Laurie Best, is leaving his job on Mayor Gregor Robertson’s staff. In a memo to City staff and the Corporate Management Team, Robertson Chief of Staff Mike Magee states that Humphrey is leaving his staff, but will still consult with Robertson’s team:
We’ll miss having Brent around in the office full time, but look forward to working with him often in the months and years ahead on special assignments.
Humphrey attracted attention due to his relationship with a senior member of City staff. Humphrey, a political staffer, has been in a longstanding personal and business relationship with Best, who was hired by Judy Rogers and advised the former City Manager and Mayor Sam Sullivan during the sensitive weeks of 2007 CUPE strike.
It is interesting to note the connection to Humphrey and Best to City Manager Penny Ballem in light of the recent eHealth controversy facing the latter. As Sean Holman reported in 2004, the NDP faithful consultants won $444,343 worth of contracts from Ballem when she was Deputy Minister of Health.
In an echo of CityCaucus.com’s current struggles to get public information through FOI, Holman described his difficulties getting the facts on the Best/Brent/Ballem collaboration:
Little did we know this request would dig up 340 pages of material! That’s right: 340 pages of contracts, expense claims and the accompanying selection/evaluation documents. Ms. Best sure has been busy. Of course, before Public Eye can get a copy, we’ve been told we need to pay a $415 entrance fee. Needless to say, we’re planning to appeal.
Humphrey’s departure must be a blow to Mayor Robertson, who is still stinging from the rebuke from labour leader and NDP stalwart Mike Bruce over his endorsement of Premier Gordon Campbell.
It’s not certain what, if any, Humphrey’s departure signals for the future of his partner Laurie Best at City Hall. When we know more we’ll be sure to let our readers know on CityCaucus.com.