Shuffle cuts costs

Restructuring administration could cut costs at Vernon city hall.

Existing senior management will absorb extra duties when Marg Bailey, manager of administrative services and deputy chief administrative officer, retires April 21.

“There are efficiencies to gain,” said Leon Gous, chief administrative officer. “There is capacity to do different things with staff.”

Some managers will see a boost in wages, while most will not.

Of the $120,000 a year budgeted for Bailey, Gous expects that about $60,000 annually can be saved.

“Some of it we gave up to get to the 0.24 per cent tax increase (in the 2011 budget),” said Gous. “We’ve already realized that savings.”

As manager of administrative services, Bailey’s activities were numerous and diverse.

Patti Bridal, corporate services manager, will continue to serve as clerk, but she will also be responsible for legislative services, information technology, media relations and the lands manager.

“Patti will be picking up the brunt of Marg’s duties,” said Gous.

Human resource matters will be taken over by Gous, while tourism manager Michelle Jefferson will report to Kevin Poole, economic development officer.

A new protective services department will be created that oversees bylaw enforcement, community policing and RCMP municipal staff.

“We needed someone who is already working closely with the police,” said Gous of Jim Patenaude, the current manager of community policing.

The one area that remains undetermined is the role of deputy chief administrative officer.

“Marg stepped in when I wasn’t available for meetings,” said Gous. “I have asked a couple of department managers to step in or we may have a rotating deputy CAO.”

Gous admits the city could have hired somebody new to take over Bailey’s duties, but that is not the process he follows.

“Every time we have a vacancy, we do a review, whether we fill it or if there is another way to do it. There is nothing we do as a knee-jerk simply because it’s vacant.”