“Have any of you ever watched some of the city works crews doing some repairs, building a street, doing some work around the city?” Geller asked. “There has to be a more cost effective way.”
Geller made his comments in response to a question about how Vancouver’s city council would avoid a deficit if a recession occurs. While calling for more funding from higher levels of government, Geller said council also needs to find efficiencies within its own workforce.
The comments provoked considerable disagreement from the audience. “That’s not fair,” an audience member shouted. “Absolutely not,” said another.
Vision Vancouver candidate Geoff Meggs responded immediately, “Michael, I very much regret the disparaging remark you made about city workers.” Meggs stressed that efficiencies could be found through better cooperation with unions.
Geller later appeared to backtrack. “Let me apologize. I did not intend to make a cheap shot to those hard-working city employees.” Geller claimed that he “really would like to make” the point that efficiencies could be found through suggestions by employees.