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Developing Story: Another senior city staffer retires

Potter primed permit improvements
Vicki Potter is one of several high-profile staffers at city hall to leave their jobs recently. Photo Dan Toulgoet.

Vicki Potter, the City of Vancouver’s director of development services, is retiring at the end of June.

Potter, who’s in charge of all the development applications filed with the city, has held her position for 13 years.

“Like many folks my age, after 40 years in the workforce, which for me has been mostly government and non-profit work, it’s time to take things a little slower.  I’m really looking forward to more time with my husband and kids, my elderly parents, walks on the beach and in the forest, and doing the community volunteer work that I really enjoy,” Potter told the Courier in an email. “For me, the city has been a most rewarding career, filled with smart people, exciting work and a feeling of making a difference in our great city.”

Brian Jackson, the city’s manager of planning and development, said Potter has been key in dealing with a project to modernize permits and licensing.

“Vicki was involved front and centre with the permits and licensing project, which is transforming the way that we do business. Within one to two years, you won’t recognize how we do business — with more of it being online, fewer in-person visits required, the standardization of the application processing system, as well as she’s reorganized her department to be more efficient and reduce the redundancy that was in the department before. She has provided an inspiration for staff for handling complex applications that we are asked to process.”

Potter also considers her leadership on the project, which she said will “bring our services online and provide a better one-stop-shop for development and building applicants” to be one of her main accomplishments.

The Courier recently reported that two key planners — Matt Shillito and Scot Hein— are also leaving their jobs at the city. Shillito, assistant director of planning, is moving back to England, while Hein, a senior planner in the Urban

Design Studio, is retiring from the city and is taking a position at UBC.

Jackson noted two other longtime staff are also retiring at month’s end —  Harv Weidner and Richard Johnson.

Of those leaving, only Shillito and Potter are in management, Jackson added, and the city is moving quickly to fill their positions. He also noted at the start of each year he gets a list of staff that are able to retire because of their age and number of years of service, so it’s not unexpected when any of those staff opt to resign from their positions.

“So with a department of approximately 180 staff, it’s not unusual for people to retire when they reach a certain age or period in their life that they want to make changes,” he said.

“None of them really caught me by surprise, except for Matt. And, I’m going to miss every single one of them.”