There are staffing reductions in some permanent, temporary and casual positions at the City of Red Deer that will take effect during 2017. The reductions are directly associated with decreased service levels as a result of decisions made during the 2017 Operating Budget.
“The recent budget adopted by City council presented some unique and difficult challenges. Council and administration worked to strike a balance between higher taxes and service adjustments, and in some cases, this resulted in decreased service levels such as adjusted programs and service at recreation facilities,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.
The staffing and service level changes include reductions in evening operating hours at Culture Services, reduction in service levels at the Collicutt Centre within the Fitness and Wellness areas, elimination of dedicated wrist-banding personnel at the Collicutt Centre and decreased late night service in transit, to name a few.
The staffing reduction is equivalent to 9.75 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) comprised of permanent, temporary and casual staff across The City. In addition, some vacant positions across the organization were also eliminated. Full Time Equivalents are a calculation of hours and do not reflect the number of positions/people that may be impacted.
“There is always a direct connection between service levels and the people who do the work; and, during the budget process, we aimed to ensure no individuals or positions were publicly identified or highlighted before we had an opportunity to share the information directly with our staff who are personally impacted by these service level changes,” said Curtis.
During the 2017 Operating Budget, many service level conversations where there were potential staffing impacts were had in camera. This was done in an effort to delicately balance the need to communicate, first and foremost, with affected staff.
“City council did its very best to maintain service levels and minimize the impacts to not only the community, but City employees as well,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Unfortunately, much like the non-profit and private sectors, the public sector has been faced with very difficult decisions. In 2016, we saw a number of businesses and industry in our own community, and across the province hit hard by the economic downturn. We will continue to be faced with this reality throughout 2017, and it is our hope that the economy improves.”
The City of Red Deer will ensure all staff, whether directly or indirectly affected, have access to corporate resources such as counselling and mental health services, which are available through the City’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).