Is the staff compliment climbing just a little too quickly?

Budget 2020 redBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2019



Is anyone doing a staff compliment count?

How many people have been added to the number of people who are, or will be, on the city payroll ?

There will be eight more bus drivers by the end of next year; three are to be added to the Forestry department – that number could go to five.

The Municipal Accommodation Tax will put dollars into the Tourism budget – that money will have to be spent. The Customer Service unit is being created, which means finding a new city Clerk. Will it also mean additional staff for the Customer Service Unit that the current city Clerk is going to head up?

The Museum is going to need more staff if they are to function effectively.

Burlington has been in this situation before. Sharman, Bentivegna and Galbraith understand what a balance sheet looks like – that’s just three votes. Four are needed to put a stop to anything.

A little too early to be certain but this might turn into a tax and spend council.

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7 comments to Is the staff compliment climbing just a little too quickly?

  • “Save the judgement” are responsible members of the electorate not supposed to evaluate and speak out. No-one gets it all right but we do need our media to warn us of the path our council is taking. There are many in our city who in their later years are without children and grandchildren nearby because they could not afford to live here . They could do with family help to stay in their homes and not clog up hospital beds. 14 million infrastructure monies went on a pier when our below ground infrastructure was screaming disaster.
    We could and have filled a book about self interest decisions that do not attend to the needs of our city and region. Many believe it is too late but we believe there is hope if we all pay attention and don’t worry if speaking truth upsets those who have a lot to lose if our media tells it as it really is. Not that we think the media always gets it right.

  • David

    A month ago I did a quick Google search on city budgets across North America comparing them by population to Burlington….I quickly found that Burlington along with other Canadian city’s have a problem with Bureaucracy creating Bureaucratic positions that will create ever more Bureaucracy….Contrary to popular belief, A city corporation is not a business, tax payers are not customers. People on a budget choose what products and services they purchase, they are not forced….

    • Philip Waggett

      Your observation is highly accurate and supported by Warren Buffett who made the following comment about bureaucratic organizations, both public and private: “Our experience has been that the manager of an already high cost operation frequently is uncannily resourceful in finding new ways to add overhead”. The decision by the City of Burlington to add the tree bylaw enforcement with attendant high cost vehicles is a classic example of fiscal mismanagement by the City; the private tree bylaw in Roseland was intended to run to 2021 but was terminated two years early with no evaluation of its impact. No effective cost-benefit analysis has been done before initiating this rapid expansion of the tree bureaucracy–when will this program been scrutinized as a cost-benefit? Or has it become another giant sinkhole?

    • david barker

      The City Corporation may not be a business in terms of its corporate set up, but all residents expect it to be run as if it were a for profit business. The residents of the city are in effects both shareholders and customers. We don’t want it run like The Bay or Sears or other businesses where customer service has been or was sacrificed to save a few pennies.

  • Perryb

    Anne and Dave, you highlight the dilemma for all politicians….trying to serve people whose list of “what we need” ignores that others view the same things as “what we (I) don’t need”.

  • david barker

    OK, do we want a City with service levels like those you find at The Bay. You know, when you have a question and you cannot find any staff, because management has cut to the bone. Is that what we want for Burlington? I know the answer to that question is a resounding “no”!

    Much noise has been made by residents that many services at the City take too long to be delivered and that the quality of City services must be raised. That cannot happen if the City does not properly staff.

    We want better transit? Right ? Then we need more buses. Buses don’t drive themselves (well not quite yet). So we need more drivers!

    Surveys seem to have showen residents are behind the implementation of a private tree bylaw. So we need it to be properly managed. Or are you ok waiting a month to get a permit. No? Thought so!

    The City is a business! It’s name is after all the Corporation of the City of Burlington. As the City grows, then the admin will need to grow too. Yes we need to be watchful to ensure money is well spent. But look at Toronto where year after year the Mayors and Councillors played to voters with the zero tax increase mantra. Now as Mayor Tory said this past week a very sizeable increase in property taxes is now required to make the now critically needed investments, which have been ignored for years.

    Let’s not make the same mistake as Toronto.

    Save the judgement !

  • What do you mean “might be a tax and spend council” the writing has been on the wall for some time now. Tax and spend but not always on what we need. Japan trip vs. Crosswalk maintenance one very small example.

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