Jim Zaffino, outgoing CAO at the City of West Kelowna photo: Mackenzie Britton

Contract expiration not retirement for West Kelowna’s Jim Zaffino

Mayor and council chose to not renew Zaffino’s contract, it expires June 28

After 11 years with the City of West Kelowna, council has chosen to not renew Jim Zaffino’s contract.

Zaffino was the first chief financial officer and for the last five years has been the chief administrative officer for the city. He has been an integral part of the growth of the city that was incorporated in 2007.

However he says that the choice to not renew his contract by the new West Kelowna Mayor and council comes as no surprise to him.

“They are new councillors, they are going in a different direction, so it wasn’t a total surprise,” said Zaffino.

“They are younger… they want to move in a different direction and change the branding, the only way they can do that is by firing the CAO. The CAO is the only one that can hire and fire staff. They (staff) all report directly to me and then I report to council. To change the brand they have to change me.”

RELATED: Contract expires for West Kelowna’s Jim Zaffino

Over his time with the city, he has created the budgets for West Kelowna, including building his own budget program for the city so they would not have to pay for it to be made, created annual citizen surveys that council utilizes, set up the municipal contract with the RCMP, created a 10 year capital and operating budget, and the organizational structure of West Kelowna.

One thing he is the most proud of is the culture he was able to create in the office.

“What I was able to do in West Kelowna, that was not just on paper. I created a culture where staff worked as a team and wanted to come to work.”

Zaffino was recognized by the Local Government Management Association of British Columbia in 2011 when he was awarded the Professional Award for Leadership. The award is something that will always be proud moment in his career.

RELATED: Familiar face becomes West Kelowna CAO

“I want to finish as many strategic priorities as possible, (before his contract expires June 28). Despite floods in 2018 we were 90.75 per cent successful in completing council’s strategic and operational priorities, and that is something that I am proud of.”

This won’t be retirement for Zaffino though, he now looks forward to working with other municipalities and regional districts and help them achieve their goals.

“There are a lot of places that need help, so I am going to help by parachuting in,” said Zaffino.

His love of West Kelowna will never fade though.”

“I see West Kelowna as a growing municipality…it’s vibrant and people know that it’s not just a place you drive through. There are a lot of things to do and see here,” said Zaffino.

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