Unfilled staff positions at the City of Whitehorse made up the bulk of $550,000 in savings the city saw in the second quarter of the fiscal year. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

City nearly $550,000 under budget due to staff vacancies

High-ranking positions take up to a year to fill, finance manager says

The City of Whitehorse saved nearly $550,000 in the second quarter of this fiscal year, mostly due to unfilled staff positions, council heard Sept. 11.

“Pretty much most of (the savings) are related to vacancies,” said finance manager Lindsey Schneider.

Several key positions of city staff are currently filled by “acting” managers, who often have other, full-time positions on top of the one in which they are acting. This includes the position of city manager, which is currently being staffed by acting city manager Linda Rapp, who is also the director of community and recreation services.

The city manager position has been empty since the city fired the previous manager, Christine Smith, in March.

The surplus was first reported at the Sept. 5 standing committee’s meeting when Mayor Dan Curtis said that while he was pleased that the city was running under budget, he had concerns about staff burning out.

Schneider said she did not have the exact number of staff vacancies available because they were “all in various stages of recruitment.”

Whenever a position opens up, it undergoes a review process to determine whether the job is necessary and to look at the job description, Schneider said. Low-level positions can be filled in a few weeks, but it often takes the city up to six months to hire for more senior positions, she said. A position like city manager can take over a year to fill.

Most of the vacancies are related to IT and financial jobs, which can be difficult to fill, because people with the training for those jobs are in high demand Schneider said.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com