Mike Furey named Whistler's chief administrative officer 

New administrator previously worked as assistant deputy minister with B.C.'s Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

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With the changing of the guard at the highest municipal level, Whistler's former Chief Administrative Officer Bill Barratt has some simple advice for his replacement Mike Furey.

"My advice to Mike would be to take this time to understand the dynamics of Whistler," said the recently retired Barratt, before heading to a golf game at Nicklaus North.

"It's not (like) any town, anywhere... There are a lot of different inputs that you have to weigh before you make decisions. It's not just a simple thing of providing municipal services."

In one month's time Mike Furey will be overseeing the multi-million dollar municipal budget, managing a staff of hundreds, and answering to a town hyper sensitive to the ebbs and flows of the ever-changing whims of tourism.

While Barratt encouraged Furey to jump in and learn about the unqiue relationships and Whistler's quirks, he also recognized the value of hiring someone from beyond the Whistler bubble.

"He's coming from a different environment so it might be good - a different set of eyes," said Barratt.

The 47-year-old father of two young children, Mike Furey certainly meets that requirement.

He comes to Whistler by way of Victoria and Ottawa from his home in a small fishing village in Newfoundland.

The Assistant Deputy Minister with the provincial Ministry of Community, Sports and Cultural Development, Furey has a deep history with both the provincial and federal governments.

While he has never worked directly in municipal government, particularly a resort municipality, Furey has experience that Mayor Ken Melamed said would serve him well in Whistler.

In his current position Furey is responsible for managing the provincial government's relationships with the local government sector and is the primary contact between industry and other partners, in relation to land use.

The mayor said one of Furey's key responsibilities when he takes over on September 12 will be to oversee the five year resigning of the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) grant money, which this year brought $7.5 million into the municipal coffers from the province. Furey is familiar with the grant and was involved in the early discussions with resort communities who were trying to secure provincial grant money several years ago. Whistler wants certainty around that funding with a five-year commitment from the province.

"So here's a guy while not having worked directly in municipal government has extensive experience with municipal files from the provincial perspective," said Melamed.

"I think that recognizes the dependence issue and the intimate relations and the high reliance that the municipal governments place on their relationships with the province."

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