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2014-05-06 at 16:35

Restructuring

Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- Reorganizing the city's corporate structure will cost three jobs at an annual savings of about $300,000.

City council recently approved a restructuring plan, effective July 1, that will reduce its departments from five to four and shift some divisions around.

"It allows us to streamline the organization," said city manager Tim Commisso.

The biggest change would see emergency services combine with development headed up by Mark Smith and have community services as a stand-alone department overseen by Michael Smith, which will include facilities and fleet and transit. Longterm care homes will be with corporate services and general manager and city treasurer Carol Pollard as two of the three homes close.

It will mean the loss of two non-union positions as surplus but Commisso didn't want to comment on what those positions were. The moves also mean that Greg Alexander's current position as general manager of community and emergency services will be eliminated when he retires next month.

Around seven current management positions will be re-classified as directors. Commisso said that's partly to attract people to those jobs. The city expects half of its 25 managers to retire over the next three years. Finding people to fill positions at that level is getting harder for all cities as baby boomers retire.

"There are less people out there and more people want them," he said.

Commisso said filling a recent human resources manager position already showed the city how hard it can be as two candidates backed out.

"Getting people to move here and getting people to change jobs was a difficult thing," he said.
Once people do make the move though, they tend to stay.

Greg Alexander actually moved to the city from Regina in 1993 to be the manager of human resources.

He said he's looking to his retirement and is staying in the city.

"I'm feeling very good about Thunder Bay and its future," he said.


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Comments

We've improved our comment system.
S Duncan says:
if getting people to move here is difficult, perhaps you could stop over taxing the citizens of this once fine city so much that they might want to live here rather than just pay for needless salaries?
5/6/2014 4:49:49 PM
feduptaxpayer#1 says:
'once fine city'

It's rude to lie.
5/6/2014 7:24:13 PM
Shane Caker says:
Let me get this right here. You are one of the most demanding (if not, the most demanding) posters here for city cut backs and lower taxes. So the city makes a move in this direction and you're still complaining? Is there anything that you won't complain, claim to be an expert on, or argue about? You really need to back away from your beloved computer and get a real meaning for existence. You're talking in circles now. To yourself.
5/6/2014 11:23:17 PM
progress now says:
If a citizen suggests reorganization, we are declared irresponsible - we can say these kinds of things because we aren't accountable. In short, we are dismissed.

I bet the editorial pages swoon with pleasure over the savvy and courageous decision making by senior administration.
5/6/2014 5:22:39 PM
fastball says:
If the people who advocate a "reorganization" were in the slightest bit qualified to suggest an intelligent option, perhaps they wouldn't feel dismissed.
I wouldn't seriously contemplate medical advice from a plumber, no matter how earnest - nor would I take to heart civic management advice from a bunch of guys sitting at the Robin's whose only experience with City Hall is this message board.
You can blame the province for a good chunk of the hirings - as a lot of bureaucracy has been downloaded to municipalities now - as well as a TON of new government guidelines like accessibility and health and safely.
5/7/2014 7:40:08 AM
signman says:
This move to restructure and eliminate 3 jobs is SMALL POTATOES when you think how over staffed city hall is and the drain it is having on the taxpayers of Thunder Bay especially those struggling now.

I recently talked to a retired city department head who told me the number of city employees has almost trippled since he retired and our population is dropping.

NO wonder City Hall was crying for another rate increase from city taxpayers after the budget was already set!

It has nothing to do with snow removal but rather the over staffed city hall and poor management of our tax dollars.

The Chamber of Commerce has it right and the city should pay attention before we all end up in the poor house!

5/6/2014 6:00:45 PM
TBDR says:
your friend is delusional if he things the city employee numbers have tripled... unless he retired in 1970, and even then i doubt it's triple.

So tell me this... if tax payers are "struggling", your logic is to what, put 1000 of them out of work? Lets bump our unemployment/underemployment up above the national average... that oughta fix things.
5/6/2014 11:46:16 PM
myopic not foolish says:
Actually, it's not the employee numbers that have tripled but rather the operating expenses for the administrative dept.For instance, the op expense for the City Manager’s office/City Clerk’s office/HR was $1.8M in 2003 up to $5.1M in 2012. The op expense for Legal Services was $250,000 in 2003 up to $772,000 in 2012. The op expense for Finance was $1.6M in 2003 up to $6.7M in 2012. Total for all these dept. combined was $3.7M in 2003 up to $12.2M in 2012. So yes roughly 3 times the amount.
5/7/2014 11:42:30 AM
sickandtired says:
Do you still need both a Golf Director and a golf supervisor working year round, with only two golf courses to run? How much revenue did the sale of Municipal make? Surely one manager can oversee golf on about an 8 month seasonal basis?
5/6/2014 6:52:10 PM
arjay says:
not just a 'SHUFFLE', HOW ABOUT A WHOLE NEW "upper deck"
5/6/2014 7:38:04 PM
Surfer79 says:
I am not convinced the city is over staffed a lot of provincial downloading occurred over the last 10-15 years which accounts to a minimum of 200+ jobs that I am aware off.
I for one have to wonder why aren't we doing more Succession planning and moving people up within the ranks. Only makes sense to me than you get the experience of the lowest man/woman on the totem pole moving up to low level management thus hopefully bringing there experience of what things work well/ are taken advantage of than in time move up to upper management.
This would save the city more than reclassifying top managers to even higher paying jobs along with all the hiring bonuses that go along with bringing new people in.

5/6/2014 8:21:47 PM
Ozone says:
Just a drop in the bucket. Still way to much waste within the city. Try to down size our council to a more reasonable number and see the games begin!
5/6/2014 11:09:50 PM
yqtyqt says:
reclassify = higher wages/benefits/pensions = higher taxes.

Of course this will trickle down to the lower ranks as well.

The upward spiral will continue indefinitely.

5/7/2014 5:59:44 AM
The Beaver..... says:
City Admin is shadow boxing. To even suggest that the elimination of 3 positions is meaningful restructuring is an insult to all of us Taxpayers.
The overstaffed workforce has to be reduced all the way down to the last Employee.
5/7/2014 7:11:33 AM
DRL1979 says:
To the people who do nothing but complain about every subject on this site, are your lives so sad that you have nothing else to do but wish the city would lay off city staff members. Everyone is brave on this site always talking about what has to be done. The city has to do this, the city has to do that... Who made you the almighty and wise person you pretend to be?

Don't forget the people you want terminated from their good paying job(s) are city tax payers as well, they spend money at our stores, they hire people to work on their homes. They are just as important to this city's financial health as the next person.

There are many other ways for the city to save money why does it have to be at the cost of someone's job?
5/7/2014 8:09:19 AM
Dockboy says:
Three jobs gone, $300,000.00 saved. That equates to 3 less members in the sunshine club. The city should really look at staffing levels with "working with less" in mind. They should be no different than any other organization that's had to do it.
5/7/2014 8:58:52 AM
fastball says:
Fine...go ahead and downsize the City.
But if you or anyone else who agrees with you dares to start to bitch and whine about how long it takes to get anything....well, at that point I will take the opportunity to tell you loudly that you got exactly what you wanted. You saved a buck or two - but your street isn't getting plowed for a week and your building permit will be issued sometime next year.
Happy now?
5/7/2014 10:05:48 AM
Marak says:
A small step in the right direction, and I mean SMALL!!! This is a drop in the bucket of what is needed in this town... :(
5/7/2014 9:27:51 AM
Just Sayin' says:
A drop in the bucket...I think there could potentially be at least $2M in savings by dropping some dead weight. Keep in mind Tim, there are software applications that can completely eliminate jobs and do better than current employees.
5/7/2014 10:46:41 AM
oscarmyerweiner says:
If they really want to save the tax payers some money why don't they lower some rates instead. Water, hydro and taxes are well over priced. But I'm sure the city will not pass these savings onto the tax payers instead they will spend it foolishly themselves. Does more work put on employees equal a lager wage if so what did you gain by restructuring in the first place.
5/7/2014 11:08:59 AM
orig junkyarddog says:
I feel that what we have here is too many people to do one job! How many Supervisors do they have drive around and apparently do very little supervising. City Staffing in all departments needs reassessing of positions like and any corporation would, more work to equal hours paid. Time to clean the fat to lean the operation, which has too many bosses not enough workers.
Doug Powell
5/7/2014 1:39:04 PM
The Beaver..... says:
hardrawkin its a liability issue not a weight issue.
5/7/2014 1:42:02 PM
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