VOP administrator announces retirement 

Next council faced with immediate executive search

One of the first jobs to be undertaken by the next Village of Pemberton council will have an enormous impact on their term: hiring a new administrator.

After more than 33 years in municipal administration, Clerk-Administrator Bryan Kirk has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2005. The town’s long-term administrator tendered his resignation on Nov. 7.

Kirk will be retiring to Vancouver, where he plans to spend time with his family and travel.

After "taking a breather," he plans to explore various options in the consulting arena, from land development to architectural and urban design. He is considering several opportunities but will not be pursuing anything directly in municipal administration.

"What I end up doing may be related but not in the field. I can’t see myself running around the province to various communities and living out of a suitcase," said Kirk.

Taking time from preparing for that evening’s all candidates meeting (see story page 22), mayoralty candidates Mark Hunter, Jordan Sturdy and Bruce van Mook all voiced their disappointment with Kirk’s decision.

Hunter, who was on council at the time of Kirk’s hire in 1994, believes the immediate impact will be the shifting of council priorities. Setting the wheels in motion to replace the outgoing administrator will have to be on the top of the agenda.

"It took a little while to find someone," said Hunter. He cautions that the incoming council may have to be prepared to hire someone temporarily and to anticipate a lengthy and expensive process.

Aside from the costs associated with this type of executive search, it is likely that the compensation package for a new administrator will be higher than current remuneration because of the expanded size of the community, current cost of living in Pemberton and the broad skill base a successful applicant would have to possess.

"I’m disappointed. I was hoping we could transition smoothly. I had hoped he would be around for 18 months," stated Sturdy.

The Valley Vision candidate spoke to Kirk on hearing of his resignation and was assured that the administrator planned to sit down with the new council and go over opportunities.

"I always thought we would work with Bryan to create a quality succession plan," said Sturdy.

Depending on the options Kirk brings forth, the man who has been involved in Pemberton’s planning and political life for the past 11 years may be instrumental in developing a succession plan. However, any concrete plans will not be put into place regarding potential consultation until the New Year as per the terms of Kirk’s employment contract with the VOP.

"Obviously it’s a negative," said van Mook of Kirk’s plans. "I will miss Bryan as a person and a friend. I was on council for six years and his experience was invaluable. He was able to help council help the community to achieve.

"I would like Bryan to consult with the new council on the entire process of hiring someone new. I am sure the door is open. He’s been a class act from the get go. I will miss him, having said that, we’ll find someone new."

Kirk, who will conclude his career in Pemberton under the Warner administration, also served as the town’s top staff member under previous mayors, Shirley Henry, Cathy McLeod and John Steward.

His advice for the new council on selecting a new administrator is simple: "They need to get someone with experience – that’s the main thing. And a good sense of humour is definitely as important as good communication skills."

While he predicts that philosophical shifts regarding development will come with a new council and new administrator, one trend he would like to see continue is adhering to Smart Growth principles when considering development.

"Smart Growth is definitely a good trend. It’s important to look at all aspects the impact of development and design will have on a community," said Kirk.

The new council will assume their positions on Monday, Dec. 5. Kirk anticipates a smooth and co-operative transition.

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