Article in Mercury

As you may know there is an article in the Mercury today (Saturday). I spoke with Nicole O’Reilly yesterday.

She enquired about the Employer of Distinction Award and quoted accurately what I described.

The rest of the comments attributed to me, while accurate, have not been reported in the context within which they were asked.

I was asked if I was surprised about the growth in the number of city positions in the 2009 budget. My response was to remind her about the process Council and staff went through during the budget in distinguishing between growth, efficiencies and new services etc. I then pointed out that even during tough economic times, often demand for city services goes up, and when the city grows, often more resources are needed to respond to increased growth and demand.

I was asked what process SMT goes through to determine when new staff are required. I responded that we examine all options in determining the best way to deliver services, and that extra staff are not always the answer. I pointed out as well that given the extent of unionization in the city, often we are required to deliver directly services/functions that are covered by our collective agreements.

I asked Nicole directly who else she had spoken with regarding the article, and was only told that she had spoken to Mayor Farbridge. Had I been asked to comment on Mr. Hammil’s comments, I would have reminded Nicole to review the HR department budget presentation, wherein reference was made to the HR department complement in relation to external benchmarks i.e. # of HR staff compared to total employees etc. (from Conference Board of Canada and The Human Resource Benchmarking Network) and that Guelph compares very favourably in relation to other municipalities, and other public sector employers vis a vis the size of the HR function.      Staff