Calgary

Nenshi defends $80,000 Disney training session

CBC News reported yesterday that the city spent $80,000 on a one-day training course put on by the Disney Institute. As far as Mayor Naheed Nenshi is concerned, it was money well spent.

Mayor points to millions in savings under city manager as proof his approach is working

Mayor Naheed Nenshi defends a one-day, $80,000 training session for city staff. (CBC)

CBC News reported yesterday that the city spent $80,000 on a one-day training course put on by the Disney Institute. As far as Mayor Naheed Nenshi is concerned, it was "money well spent". 

The course was attended by nearly five dozen top city managers and supervisors.

"If we're going to look at every single training program, every single thing that we do, every consultant that we hire, just because it happens to say Disney and it's fun to make Mickey Mouse puns, I don't think that's a particularly useful exercise for me," he said.

New culture at the city

The training session was a sole-source contract, meaning no other bids or training sessions were considered.

It was organized by city manager Jeff Fielding, who defended the decision to hire Disney, saying he's trying to build a new culture at the city — especially around the need to cut spending, or to spend appropriately.

"We do training all the time and if Mr. Fielding understands that that training really helped him with the cultural change he's trying to create here, with the $180 million in savings that we saw in the last budget — money well spent," said Nenshi.

Fielding, who's been the top city bureaucrat since 2014, said he was familiar with Disney's methods from his last job in Ontario and felt comfortable going with what he considers the best.

With files from the CBC's Scott Dippel

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