Change has quickly led to more change at city hall, and we’re curious as to what it will mean for citizens.
The City of Nanaimo, faced with two vacancies in upper management, opted not only to eliminate those positions, but also to fire another general manager as part of the overhaul.
It effectively removes an entire tier of management from city staff, and it should have immediate impacts.
Taxpayers seem to be the short-term beneficiaries, as the savings on salaries will help the city put forward a provisional budget with an expected zero-per cent tax increase. That determination to keep taxes down is something that city councillors campaigned on, but something that becomes more difficult to do every year as the cost of everything rises.
The restructuring scheme suggests that the city feels it can manage its day-to-day operations without an additional level of oversight. That may be true, but it’s possible that with fewer staff members at the top, there could be a trickle-down effect on workloads and that citizens could experience some reduction in services.
Eliminating some of the bosses might empower the department heads, but it might also have the opposite effect. With fewer general managers to champion causes and promote projects, it could further concentrate decision-making into the city manager’s office. Much will depend on the governance model that emerges, the personalities in the various city departments and the efforts of councillors.
So we will await the outcomes. We do think that, if the city was going to eliminate management positions, then the outset of a core review process was an appropriate time to do it.
Our city’s leadership and management will continually be analyzed, assessed and adjusted, and that is how it should be.