At City Hall
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 08, 2012 06:00 am
Administration has been able to find $132,000 in savings to date by digging into some city projects as well as analyzing other areas under the city’s continuous improvement policy passed last year.
According to Jennifer Jennax, general manager of corporate strategic services, the original policy, passed last September, set a financial target of $300,000 in savings.
“Not everything is complete as of yet and there may be more savings realized by the end of the year,” Jennax said. “We’re expecting to see a higher re-occuring savings than the $132,000.”
Jennax said the senior leadership team cast a wide net in examining different areas of the city’s performance, including some citywide projects and some department-level initiatives. In total, more than 25 projects were started under the policy, including reviews of photo enforcement, analyzing overtime and website support, as well as reviewing the library and the city’s IT department.
Mayor Nolan Crouse admitted he was skeptical, saying what the senior leadership team has done didn’t seem to resemble the “deep probing” he had in mind when he and Coun. Cam MacKay crafted the original policy.
“Is this continuous improvement or deep probing? This year look at public works, next year project management. This doesn’t come across to me like there’s deep probing going on,” Crouse said.
Jennax said by year’s end, the senior leadership team would have a report ready detailing their efforts that would resemble what Crouse was looking for.
“These aren’t specific departments but processes. Within the departments, some did an in-depth analysis of their own and incurred some real savings.”
The deputy mayor will now decide what issues will make it onto the agenda for the next town hall meeting, scheduled for Oct. 3.
The decision comes on the recommendation of administration. The terms of reference for the town halls, two of which have already been held, state that the deputy mayor at the time will moderate the discussion.
When council has set the agenda for the last two town hall meetings, it has taken up to a half-hour to decide on what topics should be included, a point Coun. Malcolm Parker made.
“The whole idea is to let the public come to us so I would like to see a word change,” Parker said. “We spent a half-hour determining the agenda. This is putting the responsibility on the deputy mayor to determine the agenda.”
Council voted 6-1 in favour of the change. Only Coun. Cathy Heron voted against it, saying the matter needed debate by council.
“I know there was frustration but the step of setting the agenda is important because it not only lets the press hear it, it lets the people hear it,” she said.
Under the change, the deputy mayor must submit the agenda three weeks in advance of the town hall. The last two have had loose agendas with some topics for discussion, but have been mainly an open forum with attendees driving the discussion.
The next town hall is scheduled for Wednesday Oct. 3 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Fountain Park Pool in meeting room 1.