Cuts made to Lake Country district staff

The District of Lake Country is downsizing its administration and reorganizing staff.

The District of Lake Country has undergone a reorganization of staff and internal structure.

The district expects residents to experience a higher level of customer service in various departments while realizing budget savings. The new structure is in place and all changes in personnel have been made in the past three weeks.

The staff changes affect three senior managers and six union staff, about 14 per cent of the total work force.

The management terminations represent about 20 per cent of the management team. The layoffs of six union staff represent about 12 per cent of the union workforce. The reorganization reduces the district staff from seven to five  departments.

Individual meetings were held with all staff to inform them of the situation. The district said reasonable notice of termination was paid to all senior managers affected and to the union members.

“The costs are either budgeted as a part of the current 2012 budgeted salaries for the affected positions or offset by not filling any vacancies for the rest of the year. The full savings of the review will be felt in 2012,” explained Albert De Feo, the district’s chief administrative officer.

The review also called for all contracts with the district to be re-examined. This includes private contractors, such as for road and sewer projects, and other government agencies such as rescue and dispatch. The consultants’ report recommended the district look for up to 10 per cent savings.

This fall, all service fees will come under review. “Our target is to make all the necessary changes to be effective for the 2013 budget,” De Feo said.

One of the largest sections under review was the development services department.

While the report found Lake Country compared favourably to the operating budget of other B.C. communities of similar size, the one exception was the development services department was found to be significantly larger than others.

The report made many recommendations for the restructuring.

“The recommendations will guide the department in providing a more streamlined approach to how development processes and applications will be dealt with,” said De Feo.

“The district will involve the development industry in the process in order to gain valuable feedback for the decision-making process.”

Mayor James Baker said the district has been trying to move in a more “streamlined” direction for six years. He said the changes, “affected good people—some were just not in the right places on staff.”