City management wins two new desks

The City of Whitehorse is creating two new senior management jobs, as part of a major reorganization of the city's administration. The plan won accolades from city council Tuesday night.

The City of Whitehorse is creating two new senior management jobs, as part of a major reorganization of the city’s administration.

The plan won accolades from city council Tuesday night.

“This is the most important thing we’ve had to do in this term,” said Coun. Ranj Pillai. “This is about looking at the sustainability of the organization.”

The organizational review that the city went through over the last year was “the most well-structured one I’ve ever seen,” said Coun. Dave Austin.

It’s a far cry from council’s mood this time last year when administration announced that the city was facing a $800,000 budget shortfall.

It was that massive deficit that prompted the review of the city’s organization.

For the past year, the city has worked with a consultant to examine all aspects of its operations. Every department had a chance to participate.

“While we were doing some things right, there were some areas we needed to work on,” said Stan Westby, Whitehorse’s city manager.

The final report, which was presented to city council Tuesday, found that not only was morale low among city staff, but the city lacked capacity to carry out the amount of projects that it was taking on.

The report recommends creating four administrative sections, up from two. That means the city needs two new directors.

That will bring Whitehorse in line with other cities with similar populations.

“With a 22 per cent population growth over the last 10 years, with no significant change in how we’re doing business, we’re struggling to meet service demands,” said Westby.

Several other city staff will also see the scope and responsibility of their positions changed, but no one will be losing their jobs, said Barbara Walker, the city’s manager of human resources.

All the details have yet to be worked out, but implementing all the recommendations will take three years and cost $550,000, on top of the $80,000 the city spent on the review.

“These changes will ensure that the right projects are undertaken by the right people and that the organization is set up to meet the growing needs of the community,” said Walker. “The end result will provide more efficient and higher levels of service for Whitehorse citizens.”

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com

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