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O’Reilly moving to Hawaii

Mayor announces he will telecommute for remainder of his term



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Though the 2010 Olympics was a huge draw to try to stay on as Whistler’s mayor, O’Reilly just couldn’t reconcile a six-year decision on a 17-day event. It just didn’t make any sense he said.

Lamont was also concerned about O’Reilly serving as mayor from Hawaii for four months, particularly as the next four months will be very busy.

"I wasn’t sure that that’s really a responsible way to finish your term," she said.

Under the Local Government Act, however, it is legal for the mayor to "attend" the meeting via phone, although there must be a quorum (or four members of council) physically present in the room.

Lamont also had concerns about the added workload to council with the mayor away for the next four months. Other councilors, she added, will have to fill in as acting mayor without compensation.

"I just think it’s a little unfair to put that burden on councillors without even speaking with them first," she added.

O’Reilly said he takes some responsibility for the divisive nature of his council. One of the major challenges, he said, is that some councillors have been "overly engaged," asking perhaps too many questions and giving too much direction to staff. He cited the $10 million library and the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan as two areas where council got too involved in the process. He knows not everyone on council shares that opinion.

"I’m very frustrated and very unhappy with what’s happened," he said. "And again, I’m sharing the responsibility because maybe I could have done more, I should have done more. But the fact is, for my first six years it worked very well. That’s who I am, that’s how I work."

The divide at council is felt throughout municipal hall he added, where he believes some staff are tired and frustrated with council.

Councillor Marianne Wade said she thinks this council has been healthy, with a lot of good debate. The key, however, is knowing how to manage that debate.

"In order to get good government you do need debate," she said.

Councillor Gordon McKeever echoed those comments.

"The debate and disagreement that has been evident at times at the council table is, to me, the sign of a healthy functioning council," he said.

Both, however, wished the mayor well in his new path.

Though he has his own sites set on sunnier climes, O’Reilly said the groundwork is set for Whistler as it heads into the future.