RDN operations and efficiency review

Staff and community input will be sought as the Regional District of Nanaimo will be conducting an operational and efficiency review.

Staff and community input will be sought as the Regional District of Nanaimo will be conducting an operational and efficiency review process expected to take six months.

The district board approved motion for the review at its Oct. 22 board meeting and Paul Thorkelsson, regional district chief administrative officer, said it will be internal review of the organization, that will be driven at the staff level. The process hasn’t been undertaken by the Regional District of Nanaimo before, he said.

“It’s essentially an interview process with every staff member within the organization about our processes, looking for places where people that actually do the work see the possibilities for efficiencies, increases in effectiveness, where there’s gaps, where there’s pieces missing in the services that we provide to the community, where we’re meeting the expectations of the community, where we’re not meeting those expectations,” Thorkelsson told the News Bulletin.

He said the review is aimed at seeing whether the regional district is enabled to meet current expectations of the communities it serves and future challenges in those communities and it is important not to “pre-suppose potential outcomes” and assume there will be loss of jobs because of the review.

“It needs to grow organically out of the information and data that’s collected but my expectation overall is that we will see areas where we can improve efficiency and effectiveness and we’ll also undoubtedly see areas where we’re not adequately resourced to meet the expectations of the community,” Thorkelsson explained. “So then we have to have that discussion what that means for the board, whether that’s dedicating new resources to certain areas or shifting of resources from different areas.”

Thorkelsson said he met with CUPE Local 401 (union representing members from Vancouver Island) president Blaine Gurrie and reviewed the proposal and said Gurrie had expressed the union’s support for the review process.

“The key and central part of it is that our CUPE employees are participating directly in the process and it’s important that certainly the president understood it and I had the president’s support in taking this forward to the board,” Thorkelsson said.

Gurrie was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for press.

Thorkelsson also said there would be external involvement with a community survey asking similar questions to the public – where opportunities for efficiencies exist, where gaps exist and whether the regional district is meeting the communities expectations – as well as interviews with stakeholder groups for particular service areas and elected officials.

The regional district chief administrative officer said the community survey would likely be out by the end of the year but the internal interview process will take longer.

“By spring or early summer of (2014) we should be reporting back to the board on some recommendations,” Thorkelsson said.