The City of Vancouver should return $316,000 worth of designer furniture recently delivered to City Hall, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says.
“Wasting taxpayers’ money like this is gross at the best of times,” federation B.C. director Kris Sims said. “To spend taxpayers’ money buying expensive designer office chairs while thousands of us struggle with reduced salaries and lost businesses is a slap in the face.”
Since the pandemic was declared in March, the city has laid off more than 1,500 workers, closed city facilities, cut back on services and ordered pay cuts to senior staff across the organization, which operates with a $1.6 billion budget.
At one point in the pandemic, the city was losing $5 million per week in revenue.
Sims called on Mayor Kennedy Stewart to return to furniture, including Herman Miller designer office chairs reportedly selling for about $1,600 each.
In a media statement, the city said the furniture order included various desks, guest chairs, storage cabinets, computer equipment and dividers between workstations for a human resources department staff of 60.
“By placing more employees into city-owned space, we can reduce the amount of leased space in non-city-owned buildings, which will result in future cost savings,” the statement said.
The statement said the renovation project funding, including furniture costs, falls under the city’s capital budget and was approved in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan and the capital budget for 2020.
The city said the space has not been upgraded in 30 years.