A complete organizational structure review of the Resort Municipality of Whistler has resulted in a total cost savings to taxpayers of $2.5 million over a five-year period.
RMOW Chief Administrative Officer Mike Furey presented the outcomes of the two-phased review on Tuesday (July 17) to council as a last-minute addition to the agenda.
The annual savings of $500,000 in staff reductions, said Furey, were realized through the most cost-effective manner with the least impact on operations and services.
“We are keenly aware of finding cost-effective ways to remain sustainable,” he said. “We provide a wide range of services to the community and the size of organization is always thought to reflect the needs of community as it changes and grows.
“I think we have found the balance between streamlining and staff getting the job done.”
Phase one of the organizational review saw the structure of senior management changed from five general managers to three. Phase two, recently completed, eliminated positions including one of the organization’s two assistant fire chief positions, a purchasing agent and a building inspector. It also scaled back several positions including manager of fiscal planning; a senior engineering technologist; manager of development services and the manager of community planning.
Furey said changes were made to reduce net operating expenditures while still focusing on core services as well as a staff-to-workload ratio “sweet spot.”
Wherever possible, he added, elimination of positions was done through attrition. The assistant fire chief position, he said, was eliminated after a staff member retired.
“We reviewed that very carefully with extensive discussions with the fire service and the conclusion is we can eliminate that position,” Furey said.
It follows on the heels of a service review last fall that saw 14 full-time equivalent positions eliminated. Those reductions resulted in an annual $1.2 million savings.
Over the next five years, combined with the organizational review changes presented this week, that results in a total savings of $8.5 million.
“I’d like to acknowledge the excellent work done by staff through this review,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “Council identified in our Council Action Plan that staff review and streamline the management structure at the division and department level.
“The outcomes strike a balance between ensuring we are able to continue delivering quality services while achieving efficiencies.”