Shake-up at Victoria city hall

Several City of Victoria management positions eliminated, new departments created after consultant's review

The City of Victoria is axing two management positions and reorganizing City Hall departments in an attempt to cut costs and reduce inefficiencies.

The significant changes are the result of a comprehensive review of city operations by consultant group Maximus Canada.

The consultant’s report recommends eliminating the city’s sustainability department, closing Crystal Pool and implementing a tourism tax to pay for the city’s $1.7-million maintenance program for hanging baskets and flower beds.

The review also recommends reducing or eliminating heritage grants, which total about $720,000 annually.

But Mayor Dean Fortin stressed council will need to first consider any of the major service delivery recommendations in the report. Councillors are waiting for a staff report before making any decision on Crystal Pool, and heritage grants have proven to be a good investment in the downtown core, Fortin said.

“The consultant’s recommendations do not consider community input or values and service level changes are always at council’s discretion,” he said.

Other more controversial recommendations will be considered by council sometime this fall, he added.

Several in-house full-time positions will be reallocated to other departments as a result of the review.

Two positions at the Victoria Conference Centre will be eliminated, as well as one position each in parks and legislative and regulatory services.

“Overall, as a result of the changes there will be two fewer management positions within the organizational structure,” said Katie Josephson, the city’s director of communications.

“A number of new positions are being created as a result and four managers have been advised that their positions will be eliminated Dec. 31, 2013.”

The review also found the City of Victoria provides a relatively lean and efficient value for money compared to five other major Canadian cities.

“That doesn’t minimize the fact that we need to continue to look for ways to find savings or increase revenue,” Fortin said.

“But the City of Victoria is exceptionally lean.”

Changes include the creation of a new project management office, a Return to Work management position and a records management position.

View the full consultant’s report here.

dpalmer@vicnews.com