Rather than continue indefinitely with Bill Barratt heading up municipal hall, council has officially accepted his retirement.
After a closed-door meeting last week, council picked July 5 as his last day and installed Bob MacPherson, general manager of community life, as the interim CAO while the search to fill Barratt's shoes continues.
The move comes despite Barratt's offer to stay on indefinitely until his replacement was hired. Instead, council decided to provide some certainty on the issue.
"There was a sense from a majority of council that that was in the best interests of the organization and there was some dialogue between the CAO and council," said Mayor Ken Melamed.
"Suffice to say, there was some uncertainty and rather than going on... July 5 was his last day."
He said definitively that Barratt was not fired.
"Despite the various rumours that might be out in the community, this is just fixing the retirement date - no termination and no repercussions of termination are anticipated."
Barratt was on holidays when council made the decision. He is now playing in a hockey tournament near San Francisco and not available for comment.
"He was already on vacation," said Melamed. "He has lots of accrued vacation."
The same was true of Jim Godfrey, Barratt's predecessor and later executive director of Whistler's 2010 Games Office.
That's why he had such a big payout - more than $322,000 - when he retired last year, as detailed in the recently released municipal Statement of Financial Information.
"There is really no discomfort with the amount of compensation paid to Jim," said the mayor. "This man earned every penny that he earned with the RMOW and returned more."
Accruing holiday time is something council is considering amending in the upcoming contract with its next CAO, depending on the industry standards. In the meantime, it must follow its current contracts.
"We follow the contracts we have signed. They can't be rewritten and Bill had banked holiday which is important to get him to his right retirement pension."
The mayor told staff of the news via an internal memo on July 7. In it he praised Barratt for his years of service.
"Bill's accomplishments are many," wrote the mayor. "It is safe to say that he is one of the people who have contributed significantly to literally building this resort community to what it is today."
Melamed highlighted Barratt's involvement in the 51 per cent ownership of Whistler.com, overseeing the elimination of the resident housing shortage, securing the 300-acre land bank from the province and getting the municipal boundary expansion.
And then there was his work as a head of the RMOW staff.
"He has been an outstanding, and sometimes outspoken, leader who always acted in the best interests of the community," wrote the mayor. "He has always been a champion of the RMOW staff."
Council is in the process of hiring a new CAO, and has interviewed five of seven candidates to date. The municipality hired Caldwell Partners to assist in the search for a new administrator.
"We're hoping that the new CAO can start sooner rather than later," said the mayor.