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WB election endorsement to employees draws fire

Dave Brownlie endorses McCarthy and Jackson in staff email

Whistler Blackcomb's head Dave Brownlie explained this week why he asked his employees to "strongly consider" two candidates over the others in the municipal election.

Three days before the election, president and chief operating officer Brownlie sent an email addressed to all employees endorsing Roger McCarthy and Duane Jackson, both of whom were elected to the new council.

When asked why this week, Whistler Blackcomb's communications sent this explanation: "Dave encouraged staff to consider Jackson and McCarthy because these two candidates bring tremendous depth, experience and insight to the current challenges facing our community and, as such, they provide a strong vision for our future."

Heidi Groot, who is not an employee, was so disappointed by the email, she felt compelled to write a letter to the Pique.

She explained in an interview why she was upset.

"I think there's a difference between standing behind someone publicly and endorsing someone to people whom you pay," said Groot.

She would not have had a problem, for example, if there had been a public ad endorsing the candidates.

And it has nothing to do with McCarthy and Jackson - Groot said she was happy they made it on the new team.

When asked if Whistler Blackcomb has endorsed candidates in the past, the response email from the company stated:

"It has not been our practice, however, with so many individuals running for council, Dave wanted to highlight a couple of individuals that may have not been as well know to our employees for their consideration."

There were 25 council contenders in the election. McCarthy secured top votes Saturday night; Jackson was third in the votes.

"I believe, Roger McCarthy and Duane Jackson can deliver leadership that will be good for our community and good for the future of Whistler Blackcomb," wrote Brownlie in his email to staff.

In that email he also highlighted the five council candidates who work for Whistler Blackcomb, along with their websites.