Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media after question period on the last day of the fall sitting of legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 22. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

49 per cent of ECO staff confident in senior leadership: survey

Premier Sandy Silver thanked public servants for their service in the House

Confidence in senior Liberal leadership has dropped by 31 per cent over roughly two years, according to a 2018 Executive Council Office survey.

This year, 49 per cent of ECO staff said they are confident with current leadership. In 2016, the number was at 80 per cent.

The survey, which took place in May, had 89 participants, with a response rate of 84 per cent. It covers issues like job satisfaction, stress and communication.

“There are lots of changes going on and this is evidence moving forward,” Premier Sandy Silver said during question period on Nov. 22.

“I will take it — I will definitely take it, and I will say to the public servants that we will work as hard as we possibly can to make sure that we have a transparent government, that we will do our utmost to turn around the fiscal situation of this government and that we will make sure that we listen to the public servants.”

Silver acknowledged there’s more to do with less, a result of restructuring.

“I want to say to the public servants from the bottom of my heart: thank you — thank you very much for helping us in this pursuit — because I believe Yukoners want us to do the best job that we possibly can with their money and we can’t do this without the public servants,” he said.

A day earlier, Yukon Party’s Interim Leader Stacey Hassard referred to the survey as Silver’s “own report card,” one in which he failed, noting that some public servants call the Liberals “the Roomba government,” in that “they wander aimlessly from mess to mess and when they hit the wall, they turn around.”

The most significant rating drops pertain to how senior leadership functions, targeting issues like clear direction and effective communication.

Thirty-eight per cent of ECO staff disagree that “essential information flows effectively from senior leadership to staff,” says the survey. In 2016, that figure rested at 11 per cent.

In a section dealing with vision, mission and goals, 48 per cent of ECO staff said those long-term aspirations are being accomplished.

Out of 68 questions, seven reflected positively for the Liberals, including career growth, job security, adequate benefits and available tools.

There was an uptick for those who feel they are being fairly paid, with 77 per cent agreeing. This is an increase of nine per cent relative to 2016 numbers.

Speaking with reporters after question period on Nov. 22, Silver characterized the inner-workings of government as being ramped up, reiterating a favourite Liberal talking point this sitting of finding efficiencies.

“We’ve been talking about curtailing the growth of government. These things are hard to do,” he said.

“We’re breaking down silos of departmental think. We have a whole government approach. We have a new finance department, as well, that is working in coordination with Highways and Public Works,” he said, adding that there’s a lot more financial scrutiny that’s occurring.

Asked how the results of the survey strike him, Silver said they make him “feel good that we actually have numbers and that we’re doing evidence-based decision making. It makes me feel good that we have a government that’s going to listen to their public servants.

“It’s hard to change. It really is,” Silver said, adding that from what he’s hearing from public servants, that change is a positive.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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