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Council looks for new leader

Administrator Jim Godfrey now responsible for overseeing Whistler's role in the Olympics

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The hunt is on for someone to fill the municipality's top job.

After nine years at the helm of the resort municipality, Municipal Administrator Jim Godfrey is no longer steering Whistler's ship.

Instead he assumes a newly-created role at the hall where he will oversee Whistler's role in the 2010 Games.

On Tuesday council announced Godfrey's new position in the organization – Executive Director for the 2010 Games, Whistler. The job begins immediately while council puts out the search for a new administrator.

For a man who has been a municipal administrator for more than 20 years, the last nine of which have been in Whistler, the move marks a watershed moment in his career.

"I've been an administrator since the early ’80s so it's something that I've been doing for a long time," said Godfrey the day of the announcement. "But this is really a very special and unique opportunity and it'll be great for me, so I'm really quite excited about it."

But the quickness of the announcement has caught some members of the community off-guard, particularly since Godfrey's new role leaves a gaping hole at municipal hall.

"I'm surprised it was so sudden," said local businessman Bob Lorriman.

"To do it effective immediately and then dump more work load on other people, it just doesn't sound like a well-thought out, well-planned moved."

According to council this wasn't a snap decision – it has been in the works for months.

Godfrey's contract with the municipality expired last May. That was followed by a six-month extension. Since October, however, Godfrey has been working on a month to month basis.

When asked why that contract wasn't renewed last year Councillor Nick Davies said: "We were in negotiations with respect to that contract. Historically this council has not been a council that has always done things in a timely manner but we were confident that the contract would have been renewed."

But as the negotiations evolved, this new role developed.

"This wasn't a minor decision," said Councillor Gordon McKeever. "It wasn't taken lightly."

Davies admits that in a perfect world council would have filled the role of administrator before moving Godfrey to a new position but added that he does not think this is a dangerous strategy.

Mayor Hugh O'Reilly, who has worked closely with Godfrey throughout his nine years as mayor, explained that council was looking to find a way to utilize Godfrey's talents and his wealth of experience. They also recognized that the job of municipal administrator had grown increasingly more time consuming with the Olympic workload.

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