I witnessed Whistler's first ever, standing-room-only council meeting last night. Even though it was a beautiful summer's night, the issue on everyone's mind was user pay parking fees.
Despite the tough economic times, it appears that Whistler's elected officials continue to run the resort like we're still in the golden days of the 90s.
Angry residents waited patiently at the podium to voice their disapproval with the Resort Municipality of Whistler's new pay parking fees, and explained how these added fees will impact small businesses in the resort.
In a surprising twist, Whistler's mayor and council admitted that the new parking plan had been poorly executed and that local businesses had not been properly consulted. Staff was directed to prepare a new plan and to re-examine parking fees across the resort. Their findings will be presented at the next council meeting.
Despite the fact that "there are 61 senior managers earning a total of $6,135,861.09 in salaries (an average of $100,587.89 per employee)," the mayor still refuses to trim municipal salaries. Quite a lucrative HR budget in a town of 10,000 full-time residents that has reached build-out.
The mayor continues to defend the 350-plus municipal employees, claiming that each position is necessary to run the "best resort on the planet. He also explained that "staff are fairly paid, they are right-sized and lean and mean against their competitors." The real reason behind Whistler's "bloated" staff? To maintain "labour peace" during the 2010 Games.
Municipal Staff to get Olympic Yearbooks?
Despite the growing unrest and anti-2010 sentiment building in Whistler, residents' concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
Earlier this year, the municipality came under fire for spending $38,000 on Arc'teryx jackets and $37,000 on Olympic tickets for staff, while homeowners saw their property taxes increase by double digits. The mayor was asked repeatedly to cancel the contracts for the jackets, but to no avail. Staff also received a 10 per cent wage increase this year.
Today I learned that the RMOW has issued a tender for the design and production of a "2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games Commemorative Yearbook Project" for the municipal staff.
The RFP specifies that, "The yearbook must provide staff with a fun, engaging representation of their Games-time experience." It should also include pockets for ticket stubs and personal photos.
Why stop at commemorative yearbooks and jackets? Maybe taxpayers should throw in free iPods and a digital camera so that staff can capture their own O-limp-dyck memories.
The RMOW has shown some budgetary restraint since the total budget for this project is not to exceed $15,000. Again - money we don't have. 300 print copies and 400 digital copies of the yearbook need be produced. With its seemingly bottomless coffers, the RMOW should also splurge on full-colour dust jackets, gold trim and personalized names engraved onto each yearbook.
No word yet on whether or not staff will have to purchase the yearbooks or will receive them for free after the Games. Why does Whistler's municipal staff need customized Olympic scrapbooks, when Vanoc is producing several books and a souvenir program for the 2010 Games? Will taxpayers be footing the bill so that staff can have their books signed by co-workers during office hours?
They could hire one of the local high school kids students to assemble the yearbook. Better yet, an eight-year old kid could design and print the yearbook using one of the free online programs like iPhoto or Myphotoalbum.
If the RMOW was truly serious about cutting costs in these difficult times, they should be leading by example. The only way Whistler is going to make it beyond "the Olympic dream" is for our elected officials to get real.
For any artists, designers or students who want to cash in, the closing deadline to apply is July 24. Y
ARTIST CALL FOR ENTRY
2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games Commemorative Yearbook Project
Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) staff will play an important role in welcoming the world and delivering extraordinary Games, for both locals and visitors alike. Based on feedback from staff, the RMOW is seeking quotes for designers to produce and publish a commemorative yearbook. The yearbook must provide staff with a fun, engaging representation of their Games-time experience. Those interested on quoting on this project are asked to submit the following:
- A summary of similar projects
- A summary of team members involved in the project
- A completed budget table
By providing a quote on this project there is an assumption that the deadlines outlined can be met. The deadline for providing a quote is July 24, 2009 at 4:00pm (PST).
The RMOW's more than 350 staff will be involved in a variety of Games-time operations during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As municipal workers, the Games provide all staff with a unique opportunity to be involved in a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As an organization committed to being a top employer, who recognizes the need to recognize and thank staff, the RMOW is seeking to produce a yearbook - in print and digitally - that provides staff with photos of themselves and their colleagues before and during the Games; fun facts about RMOW staff during the Games; and a limited number of short stories and thanks from senior management.
The intent of this project is recognize and thank the RMOW's employees for their commitment to delivering an extraordinary 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games experience for locals and visitors alike. The main objectives are to recognize staff contribution and commitment to the Games so that being the Host Mountain Resort is a positive opportunity for staff. To engage staff in the project so they are actively involved and take ownership of the project. To build team moral so that being the host Mountain Resort for the Games further develops a positive organizational culture, which further support broader human resources objectives.
The look and feel of the yearbook must align with the RMOW's style guide and be recognized as an RMOW publication. The yearbook should be fun, engaging and have a high design aesthetic which appeals to a broad audience.
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