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Still, Jayson will be the first to admit how much he's learning about the local political process. "I've been a small-business man all my life," he says. "And the research is very clear on this — a healthy economy depends on small business entrepreneurship. And you know, when you're a businessman it's really easy to throw rocks at the government..."
But now that he's standing on the other side of the fence, he understands why things don't always move at the kind of torrid pace most entrepreneurs prefer. "It's all about being answerable to the electorate," he explains. "Government is a process. And whether you hate or love that process, that's what democracy is all about. You've got to slow things down. Consider all the consequences of any given proposal. Sure, it can be frustrating. But now I understand why it works that way."
That doesn't mean, he's quick to add, that you can't improve the process. "Ultimately, the municipality must always remember who its customers are — the residents." Which means, he says, "that our job is to make sure the community is managed in the most efficient — and effective — manner possible."
And that, to a large extent, relies on establishing a good working relationship between council and RMOW employees. "I'd heard lots of hyperbole about the muni hall staff," he says. And laughs. "I expected to run into a bunch of bogeymen there — but that hasn't been the case at all! The people that I've worked with to date are all conscientious, responsible and absolutely want to do the right thing by the community."
The good vibes, it seems, are flowing both ways. "I think there was a lot of concern among staff at first that the new council would come along and chop off all their heads. But when that didn't happen, most of them understood that we were simply agents of positive change."
He also thinks the recent shift in management styles has made a big difference at muni hall. Like every other councillor I've spoken to these last few weeks, Jayson is an enthusiastic fan of CAO Mike Furey. "Maybe the best thing the last council did," he says. "Mike is very sophisticated politically. He knows exactly how government works, and he's acutely aware of how to get things done. He's a tremendous asset for Whistler. He understands the role the municipality has to play, what role his staff needs to play." A pause. "The guy is a real pro."
And Mayor Nancy? "She's been great," he says. "She's been really good at pulling us all together. She's the consummate consensus builder and virtually without ego — which is wonderful."
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