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Sooke looks to Prince Rupert for top staffer's replacement

Nov 08 2012

Sooke has hired a new chief administrative officer.

Gord Howie, currently Prince Rupert's city manager, will take over Sooke's top job Feb 1.

Howie replaces former chief administrator Evan Parliament who "left [Sooke] by mutual agreement" in August after five years, said Mayor Wendall Milne.

Terms of Parliament's departure have not been released.

Parliament, who made $152,000 in 2011, had been away from the job for about six weeks before the announcement of his permanent departure.

There was little explanation offered at that time for his absence, with Milne saying only that he was on vacation.

Since the last election in November 2011, Sooke council has reviewed several municipal agreements, including those governing legal services, sewer services and agreements with the Prestige Hotel.

In May, council discovered that municipal staff in 2009 reached a deal with the owners of the hotel to defer $660,000 in development charges.

More recently, council announced it was shelving and redrafting its zoning bylaw because not enough was done to advertise the bylaw and notify property owners before it was adopted just prior to the election.

The zoning bylaw had taken almost one year to complete. The district began its review of the previous bylaw in late 2010 and the council at the time introduced and passed it weeks before the municipal election.

Redrafting and passing a new bylaw is estimated to cost $40,000 to $50,000.

The district used a local firm to headhunt for a replacement for Parliament and ultimately interviewed five people out of more than 100 applicants, Milne said.

"It was very extensive," he said of the job search.

A statement issued by Sooke said Howie has more than 37 years experience in senior local government positions. He served as administrator in Prince Rupert from 1980 to 1987, returning in 2005.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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