Recently a number of people have asked me about the municipal office. There appears to be a controversy brewing about relocating some office staff to a different location. A little background to give the reader a better sense of what is causing the problem.
Right now you have twenty people in the office, the CAO, four department heads a contract assessor, safety officer, bylaw officer, and twelve ladies looking after the various functions covered by those departments.
Again that’s twenty people, this last budget council added a number of full time positions, a Foreman, one person in HR, one person in the recreational department a weed control person, and a half time position in finance.
Anybody that reads my blog understands how I feel about the additional positions, but that was the council’s decision. Validated by an argument that to find more inefficiency and determine where job duties could be changed or combined, it took those additional people to make that happen, briefly short-term growth that will eventually shrink the work force. Well I still do not buy that argument I have never seen at any level (municipal, provincial or federal) where government has shrunk.
Back to the issue at hand, for a while rumors having been floating around the community about the Recreation Department moving to the MDM, due to the shortage of space in the present office.
First is the lack of space has big an issue as it first appears to be? There is a vacant Foreman’s office downstairs so that position is looked after. The weed control person has worked out of the MDM for the last couple of years as a seasonal position, nothing as changed there. The part time position for finance as been accommodated in the finance department for the last three years. Realistically the additional space is required for two people HR and Recreation.
Can the office be reconfigured to cover off those positions? Council believes so at the last G+P they directed administration to come back with a plan that allows for that. From what I have heard administration is coming back to the next G+P meeting still looking at moving to the MDM. Obviously if this is the case communications are breaking down some where I was at that last meeting Council’s direction was very clear.
More arguments for maintaining all the staff in one building;
Costs I do not care what argument you make there will be a cost, to set up at the MDM is it $10,000, $20,000 I have no idea but there will be a cost, so where does that money come from? Is that dollars that could have gone into reserves.
One stop shopping, presently the taxpayer can go into the office pay a utility bill, check on a development permit, talk to the bylaw office and check out a recreation program, basically take care of all your municipal business in one stop.
Redundancy, present council’s position that they are going to reduce the workforce over time by attrition, due to improved efficiency at all levels. If this proves to be true, the office at the MDM would be redundant in a couple of years anyway due to additional space being created in the Coleman office.
Better utilization of MDM space, prior to leaving council we were told that all the space at the MDM was leased out. To maximize cost recovery at the MDM why would you not rent every foot of space you can, that space that is being saved for the administration at the MDM could be rented out to a group which would lessen the burden on the taxpayers to operate that building.
Efficient utilization of staff, during vacation periods there are times where there is very minimal staff in the municipal office which occasionally requires staff to assist in other areas than there own. This would become a bigger issue if staff were spread out over various locations.
Supervision of staff, we all recognize that administration receives vacation during those timeframes being in one building if there is an issue and the department head is away there would be other administrators in the office that could deal with that particular issue.
Smaller issues, maintain two sets of office supplies, extra photocopier, and additional costs for people to run back and forth between the two locations. Co-ordination between departments you can have all the technology in the world but there are going to be times when a person needs to talk face to face with another person in a different department.