CFN – At an open meeting this past Wednesday the topic of conversation was related to outbursts by Deputy Mayor Tammy Hart to local media regarding the Organization & Compensation review.
It was resolved that the Municipality will be asking their Integrity commissioner to investigate Ms Hart.
Mayor Bryan McGillis responded to questions today after the Township released their report. He had the following statement issued:
Council and I felt that repeated violations of our Code of Conduct – which Deputy Mayor Hart signed left us with no choice but to invite Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze to investigate Ms Hart’s actions including her outbursts at recent council meetings and the premature release of confidential information regarding our Organization & Compensation review and staff.
Council unanimously agreed that no release of information would occur until the reviews were finished and key staff were consulted for their feedback before release to the public.
Council feels that Ms Hart’s actions diminish the achievements of staff and this council which we are very proud of. Ms. Hart’s outburst and bullying of staff and council are not productive and we hope to resolve any outstanding issues and move forward and continue the good work we are doing for the residents of South Stormont.
South Stormont Press Release
The Chief Administrative Officer/Clerk provided an update to Township staff that summarizes the results of the recent Organization & Compensation Review Project carried out by the consulting firm of Gazda, Houlné & Associates Inc. The firm was retained by the Township of South Stormont to prepare recommendations regarding potential changes in the Township’s organization structure, staffing and service delivery to increase the efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of municipal services to residents and customers.
The Project results were presented by the consultants in two parts: Part I – organization, staffing and service delivery, and Part II – compensation for members of Council, non-union employees.
This media release deals with findings and recommendations from Part I.
To develop the information required for the Review, a multi-phase approach was implemented by the consultants consisting of: 1) a formal consultative process with structured interviews conducted with Township staff, 2) structured interviews conducted with members of Council on service delivery, 3) a detailed analysis of the existing organization structure of the Township against generally accepted organization design principles and criteria, and 4) comparison of the Township organization structure and staffing levels with those of comparable municipalities (N=10) in the local area.
Based on analysis completed by the consultants, some 56 specific services delivered by the various Departments were rated in terms of on-time delivery and performance to “spec” or standard. The consultants reported that the majority of the services were rated as satisfactory. There were, however, a number of services identified as requiring improvement.
The findings from the employee interviews also identified other improvements to be made including: 1) increase in administrative support staff resources, 2) reduction in number of positions with split roles, e.g., CAO/Clerk, Building Inspector/Drainage Superintendent, 3) clarification of roles/responsibilities, 4) improvement in internal communications, 5) fuller utilization of IT, and 6) elimination of duplication/overlap of functions.
The results of the consultants’ benchmarking indicate that South Stormont is lean-sized, i.e., well below the median of the comparator group of similar local municipalities. The Township’s full-time employee complement is 30% below the median of the reference group on a per capita basis. South Stormont’s total expenditures per capita were 14% less than the median of the comparator group.
With very lean-sized staffing and much lower expenditures on a per capita basis, it would be expected that some improvements would be necessary in the Township organization, staffing and service delivery, particularly with regards to the Planning, Economic Development, Drainage, Building and Municipal By-Law Enforcement functions. The consultants have recommended a realigned organization structure to address the improvement requirements which Council has approved in principle. The revised organization and staffing includes a number of key changes including: 1) establishment of a dedicated CAO position, 2) creation of two new Department/Function Head positions, i.e., Town Planner and Economic Development Officer and Director Corporate Services/Clerk, 3) reassignment of Drainage Superintendent role to Public Works, 4) full-time Municipal By-Law Enforcement Officer (parking, animal control), and 5) additional administrative support staff and strengthening of customer service at the front desk.
Council has directed the CAO/Clerk to prepare an action plan and timetable for the implementation of the realigned organization structure. When fully implemented, the full-time permanent staff of the Township will increase by 4-5, but remains lean-sized (i.e., 10-12% less) as compared to the median staffing of similar size local municipalities.
Mayor Bryan McGillis commented that, “Council is committed to the delivery of efficient and effective services to the community. While Council is pleased that a number of services were positively rated, Council and Township staff will be working together to address the improvement requirements while continuing to maintain a lean-size staff.”
Mayor McGillis also released his notes from the process:
Mayor’s Notes: Goals and Objectives with our Organizational Review:
1. Council agreed to take a look at the organization and to review the services we deliver. Some of the goals were a review of staffing, the reporting structure, salaries for internal and external pay equity including Council honorariums, etc. (see attached)
2. We have to make changes in order to meet ratepayer expectations. The Township is bogged down with so much information and legislation. We have experienced positive growth, and this is good but we are understaffed!
3. The professional consulting firm we hired has completed over 150 municipal internal organization and compensation reviews; we appreciate their expertise.
4. Ratepayers expect quality service and we need to pay the “going rate” for retain and attract qualified employees, for the long term.
5. With this review we are maintaining a lean-sized staffing complement and are still below our comparator group (15 % below).
6. The job descriptions will be based on “best practices” and this will make it clear as to who is doing what.
7. The confidential interviews expressed the need for us to eliminate duplication. With defined job descriptions this will clear this matter up and there should no longer be an overlap of functions.
8. This review recommends that we no longer have department managers with split roles due to excessive work load because of legislation. In 2014, there will be over 200 changes to the building code as one example.
9. Council also wanted to focus on meeting our future needs and succession planning in regards to staff retirements. We need to be ready and prepared in pursing and keeping qualified employees.
10. We have also focused on departments and functions such as Fire, Parks and Recreation and Economic Development that build a sense of community spirit and promote participation in the residential and business/commercial communities.
11. Our review also indentified the need to focus on the application of up-to-date technology and to streamline work processes and reduce paper intensive practices.
12. Council has also reviewed the need to consider cost recovery in establishing new positions. As deemed necessary, the township will use contract part-time positions to provide missing expertise and resources.
13. The Township is referring to the organization realignment as an Organization Structure Master Plan and will be implemented in stages. The CAO has been directed to prepare an implementation plan of action and timetable.
14. The Mayor stated, “I am very proud to work with our team who are both cost efficient and effective for the taxpayers of South Stormont.” We are 15 % below the average comparison of Ontario municipalities.
15. Council wants good service delivered. To meet this goal, we need to have the financial and human resources available.
16. This in-depth process has been overwhelming and time consuming. Part of the process was to inform the public, and we will however not pre-maturely. We are committed to continuously improving this organization.
Reached via phone Deputy Mayor Hart stated:
I just believe in complete transparency. I am just doing my job. I know council was upset about the freeholder story and will continue to do my job because that’s what you’re paid to do.
I’m just trying to work for the constituents I’m just doing my job and council is upset
Asked if she felt she violated the Municipality’s Code of Conduct she stated that she didn’t believe that to be true.