City staffing issues could affect services: manager

The City of Whitehorse is having a tough time recruiting qualified people for several of its departments, including finance and water and waste services.

The City of Whitehorse is having a tough time recruiting qualified people for several of its departments, including finance and water and waste services.

The vacancies have resulted in the city being $1 million below budget for wages and benefits for its staff.

At Monday evening’s council meeting, Coun. Betty Irwin asked about the repercussions on the city’s ability to provide services.

Valerie Anderson, manager of financial services, said city staff were working hard to keep up service levels but was unsure of how much longer they could continue doing so.

“Certainly if this were to extend much longer, there would be definite effect to the services being offered,” she told Irwin.

In response to Coun. Irwin’s follow-up question about what the city planned on doing to fix the situation, Anderson said under-staffed departments were working with human resources to “enable hiring to happen.”

Barbara Walker, manager of human resources, said understaffing can result from different things.

Restructuring is one of them. For example, the city has created a new department called legislative and administrative services, which hasn’t been fully staffed yet.

A manager’s position within the department replaces the position formerly titled as the director of corporate services, which was held by Robert Fendrick until March.

The director of infrastructure and operations position has been vacant since Brian Crist was let go in March. Walker said it would be filled in the next four to six weeks.

New positions were created in the finance department, too, such as the procurement area.

The bylaw department has experienced some turnover lately, and Walker said it’s been particularly hard to find qualified people here in the Yukon.

Another challenging position to fill has been lifeguards.

“That’s a problem area for us,” she said. Many lifeguards are younger people who go back to school in the fall.

Some positions take longer to fill than others. If an employee only gives two weeks’ notice, it takes the city at least six weeks to fill that vacancy, she said.

The city runs a very “lean” organization, she said, which means that when there is a position to be filled, it has a ripple effect.

“It’s not uncommon for people, at some point in the year, to not only do their job but do pieces of someone else’s job too,” she said.

As of this morning there were six positions posted on the city’s careers page. Walker said that’s down from about 20 a month ago.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen


Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Joel Krahn/ Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

Most Read