Now, Brian Barnett is Shown the Door

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 25, 2012

Another top district official was cut loose from the district.

Brian Barnett, the general manager of engineering and parks, is no longer employed with the district, said Christie Smith, the communications manager.

Of course, ‘no longer employed’ leaves us with a good guessing game at our hands.

Brian Barnett

Was he fired? Did he resign?

As far as the information gleaned by the Reporter, it was the former.

This is emerging to be the year of goodbyes, some volunteer, some forces, at the district: First it was Kevin Ramsay’s resignation, then the ouster of Cameron Chalmers, and now it’s Barnett’s turn to clean up his desk.

Brian Barnett was hired as the acting manager of engineering in 2010.

He came to Squamish from Whistler, where he spent the past 13 years as the general manager of environmental services.

He was later promoted to the position of Engineering and Parks GM by Squamish.

In Squamish, he seemed to be leading the charge on some crucial infrastructure projects, including the Squamish River dike.

Hiring and firing decisions are cloaked in secrecy and it works quite well those handing out the pink slips.

Any questions to the district regarding Barnett’s ejection were met with a familiar response: a loud silence.

Councillors deflected all questions to CAO Corien Speaker, who, expectedly, declined to provide any information.

“Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you with any information, in order to protect Mr. Barnett’s right for privacy,” she said.

“I am certain you are familiar with the freedom of information and the protection of privacy act. In accordance with this act the District is not authorized to release personal information regarding any employees.”

In his seminal essay, Politics and the English language, George Orwell explained how unclear writing and meaningless phrases are used ‘to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.’

The following is the district’s ‘official’ response to a query about whether Barnett still had a job with the district.

It could make Orwell turn in his grave.

Here it is in italics:

 Thank you for your inquiry regarding staff at the District’s Engineering Department. 

The safety and security of our infrastructure and well-being and health of our community are primary concerns for the District. 

To this end, engineering services to infrastructure planning, development and construction for the District will continue. 

Talented staff members continue to be in place who will continue to define the need, analyze demand, develop, administer and monitor engineering plans for:  traffic circulation, water supply and distribution, road networks, sanitary sewer collection and treatment, and storm drainage for the District.

The District of Squamish is committed to enhancing employee engagement, adopting new technologies and processes and improving our customer service to increase the confidence of our partners in the community and development industry.

 Decisions will be made over the days ahead that will ensure Development Services continues to provide a sustainable, excellent level of customer service to the development industry and the Squamish community.

By the way, one can’t help but wonder: Who is next?



  1. Elliot says:

    Does he also get a $100,000 cheque to start a consulting company, and then a job with Mr. Day?

  2. heather gee says:

    Being known as operating “a revolving door” with regard to staff turnover is not a good reputation to have.