According to an update from City Administration, work is underway or completed on all of the recommendations made in the Governance Audit. The audit was completed in April by George B. Cuff and Associates and included 16 recommendations to be considered by council.
Over the past six months, there has been a number of changes stemming from the report including the firing of City Manager Glenn Carroll, the addition of the Governance and Priorities Committee meeting and the restructuring of the city’s organizational structure.
“How the city management has been restructured, I think the employees feel better about it. There’s better communication that way. I think the executive team feels better about it from their perspective. That layout, I think that’s been huge and I think it’s been felt throughout the entire city. There’s always work to improve things but I think but I think some great ground work has been laid,” says Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
Councillor Michael Diachuk says, “I’m especially pleased that we were able to touch on virtually almost all of them at this point. Some of them were immediate obviously, with change in staffing and the like but I think overall we’ve made progress in a number of areas.”
He goes on to say, “I think the move to actually engage someone like George Cuff really allowed us to stand back and let an objective set of eyes and ears come in and give an opinion that really didn’t have the same vested interest that we did. I think that was really informing us, informing the city and really giving us the opportunity to back away and say ‘this isn’t a personal agenda or me versus you, this is about how a good city should operate and run.'”
Interim City Manager Rick McDonald says, “through a number of organizational changes, we have shaped a healthier, more efficient organization that shares a sharp focus on providing optimal value in municipal services. Over the past six months, we have put structures and protocols in place that allow for clear and productive communication between Council and Administration. We have also adopted a number of practices to greatly enhance the transparency and accountability of the organization as a whole.”
Work still needs to be done surrounding the salary grid and an audit into City expenses according to the update.
“We’re waiting on some information yet from the forensic audit. We’ll be dealing with some wage issues in the new year and things like that but in general, from what I can see, we’ve covered off a lot of areas. Administration has worked very hard. We have a lot of policies to develop and bylaws to clean up but that will be ongoing,” says Aalbers.
The Mayor adds the response has been positive.
“The general feeling I get from council and from the residents, people are happy with the work that has been done to this point. The discussion, the issues that come forward in the way they come forward now through the Governance and Priorities Committee. People are well aware of items the city is working with and dealing with and that direction that we’re going in seems to be endorsed by most of the voters I’ve talked to.”
The next big item for City Council is the budget, with discussions on the first draft taking place Monday.