Council has come through on one of its key promises this week by appointing a new administrator to lead the resort municipality.
And after scouring the country from coast to coast, they have chosen Whistler’s own Bill Barratt, deputy administrator these past eight months.
Barratt, who has moved up through the ranks at the hall for 25 years, was very pleased he was successful after the lengthy job interview process. His first order of business in the coming weeks is to get the new council oriented and strategize their goals for the next three years.
"I’m really optimistic about the future and I’m looking forward to working with our staff and a new council and heading towards the Olympics," said Barratt this week.
One councillor questioned the decision so close to the election in a race that will bring about major changes at the council table. Marianne Wade said she would have preferred to defer the decision to the seven new members of council who will be working with Barratt.
"My preference would have been to make a recommendation to the new council… and let them decide," she said.
Councillor Kristi Wells saw council’s role a little differently.
"(Council) felt that it was absolutely important and our responsibility to ensure that the seat wasn’t left empty and it was filled with the best person that we could find," she said.
Councillor Ken Melamed also reinforced this point, adding that council had concerns about putting off the decision, worried that a new mayor and council could unravel all the hard work the current council has done already in the selection process.
And Councillor Caroline Lamont said in retrospect she wouldn’t have been qualified to make a decision on the complex role of the administrator as a first-year councillor.
"It was appropriate," she said of council’s decision.
The administrator seat was left empty after council moved Jim Godfrey from the position to a newly-created senior position at municipal hall – executive director for the 2010 Games, Whistler. That decision was made in March, leaving the municipal staff without an official leader.
Council’s search to replace Godfrey began with help from an international search firm with offices across the country.
The first screening narrowed down the field to a dozen highly qualified candidates. Council chose three finalists from that group, including Barratt, one candidate from the private sector and another from the public sector.
In addition to the interviews, candidates were asked to give a presentation on Whistler’s sustainability plan, known as Whistler 2020.