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By Loreth Beswetherick Whistler’s loss is West Vancouver’s gain. Municipal administrator Jim Godfrey tendered his resignation this week to take up a position as city manager for the District of West Vancouver. His last day of work in Whistler will be Friday, Oct. 22. Godfrey told councillors of his decision after Monday night’s council meeting. Staff were told early Tuesday morning. Godfrey has been Whistler’s administrator since November 1996. His resignation came as a shock to municipal staff. Director of Parks and Recreation Bill Barratt — who had filled in as acting administrator before Godfrey’s arrival, said he is "still reeling" from the news. "It’s a huge loss — I’m just devastated," said Barratt. "I have an incredible amount of respect for Jim. He really challenges people and is great at getting the most out of people." Barratt said Godfrey’s leadership skills pulled staff together to make everyone feel a part of the overall municipal process and work as a team. Godfrey walked into a municipal hall in disarray three years ago. He stepped into the shoes of former administrator Peter Kent who had taken a medical leave of absence from December 1995 before resigning his position. Kent’s absence and the resignation of former bylaw superintendent Calvin Logue had sparked a review of Whistler’s municipal procedures by Urban Systems consultants. Godfrey was largely responsible for implementing many of the recommendations to come out of that review. "He came into a situation that required a lot of work to create a corporate culture that was more innovative and enjoyable to work in," said Barratt. Although Godfrey only served three years of his five-year contract, the long-term strategic planning process he initiated will see that his mark is around for some time to come. Barratt said the timing of Godfrey’s arrival was perfect. "Most of the development in Whistler had occurred. The changes and the directions he was taking were more long term, which was what was needed. We were sort of at a crossroads." Hugh O’Reilly kicked off his mayoral term in 1996 with the new administrator. "It is with great regret that I accept his resignation," said O’Reilly. "He has played a significant role in the development of key building blocks — Whistler 2002, the vision, long-term financial plan and business plan and the Whistler environmental strategy. These initiatives provide a tremendous foundation for Whistler’s continued success into the next millennium. I know Whistler is better for his contribution." Godfrey said his reasons for leaving are personal and his decision should in "no way, shape or form" reflect negatively on the community. He said his new role in West Vancouver presents some exciting opportunities. "It’s been a real privilege to have had the opportunity to work in Whistler and to be a part of this community," said Godfrey. The RMOW human resources department will be engaging an executive search firm to hunt for a replacement administrator. That could take — if all goes well — about four to five months. It is likely that a department head will have to step in as acting administrator until the position is filled. For a period that will leave municipal hall with three acting department heads and an acting administrator plus a newly-elected council. The position of municipal director of finance has not been filled since Ken Derpak left in April. John Nelson, director of public works, is currently acting as the director of finance and Brian Barnett is currently acting as director of public works.

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