White Rock has a new city manager.
Dan Bottrill, a 20-year veteran of municipal government whose most recent position was deputy city manager in Surrey, took up duties Wednesday.
He replaces Dennis Back, who was interim acting manager since Feb. 1, following the sudden resignation of Peggy Clark last December.
And while Bottrill filed a statement of claim in B.C. Supreme Court last August seeking damages from the City of Surrey – after the termination of his position in June – he said Wednesday the matter has been resolved, although he did not give details.
“It was unfortunate the city had a reorganization that terminated the position of deputy manager,” he said. “We had a bit of a disagreement, but that was completed last year. There is no difference between us. I have a great relationship with and healthy respect for the City of Surrey.”
Mayor Wayne Baldwin – who served as White Rock’s city manager for 23 years – said he and council are comfortable with the hire after a thorough process that “winnowed down” the field from 113 original applicants, with the help of Back and city human resources director Jacquie Johnstone.
“We ended up interviewing three, with all members of council,” he said. “At the end of the day, Dan was the unanimous choice.”
Clark’s resignation after six years on the job came shortly after the November election of Baldwin, who had publicly criticized Clark’s compensation package during the campaign.
Bottrill said he is looking forward to working with mayor and council and the staff at the City of White Rock.
He also looks forward, he said, to using his past experience working with the City of Surrey in pursuing common goals for the two communities.
In his view, potential amalgamation of White Rock and South Surrey – which is often raised at election time – is a non-issue.
“I don’t see it as any kind of a political football – it’s more of a media issue than anything else. I worked for three years with the City of Surrey and I didn’t see it (emerge) even once.
“I look at it more as two neighboring communities that may have similar issues they want to resolve together – transit, for example.”
Bottrill said just before noon Wednesday that he spent most of his first morning on the job touring city facilities.
“One of the things I wanted to do is hit the ground running; having a good understanding of the challenges and issues,” he said.
“Understanding our facilities is part of that.”
Bottrill declined to speculate on what the biggest challenges of his new job will be.
“There are always challenges – I’ve only been here two hours,” he laughed.
“Ask me after a week.”
Prior to Surrey, Bottrill, whose background is in chartered accountancy, was director of finance with Abbotsford. He was hired in 1991, when he became the deputy treasurer for the old District of Abbotsford. After amalgamation in 1995, he became the City of Abbotsford’s director of finance which was later renamed as the director of corporate services.