Since he was elected to town council two years ago, Dave Willie has not shied away from being critical about the way the Town of Qualicum Beach conducts its business.
On Thursday, the day after the town announced CAO Mark Brown is retiring at the age of 53 after 33 years of employment with the municipality, Willie had nothing but praise for the departing top man at town hall.
“Mark has been a part of town decisions for a long, long time,” said Willie. “One has to recognize that contribution. There may be things we didn’t agree on but we have one hell of a town and he has had a place in that and we appreciate that.”
Finding a hiring a successor for Brown won’t be a speedy process, said Willie.
“I don’t think council has had a big discussion on that, to be honest,” he said.
“The first discussion we need to have is: what are we looking for? It’s probably realistic to think it’s going to be May, June or July before we find a replacement.”
With a municipal election a little more than one year away (Nov. 15, 2014), does Willie believe it will be the current council that makes the final decision on who will be the town’s new chief administrative officer?
“For sure, no question about it,” he said.
Willie also said he believes Brown will take his talents into another field soon.
“He’s a young guy and there’s a lot of opportunity out there,” he said.
“I don’t think Mark will be playing a round of golf every day — he will be moving on to do something.”
The news release Wednesday announcing Brown’s departure contained no comments from anyone at town hall.
The NEWS asked Mayor Teunis Westbroek for comment but he declined.