Restructuring brings benefits

The city announced significant restructuring to municipal departments, including the elimination of several senior management positions.

It sounds as though some of the corner offices at the new city hall annex are going to be up for grabs.

Nanaimo’s city manager Ted Swabey announced this week significant restructuring to municipal departments, including the elimination of several senior management positions.

It’s hard to know, today, what sort of effect the shakeup will have on the delivery of services to residents tomorrow, but it seems as though these changes will be for the better.

It helps that the restructuring sounds sensible. Separating arts and culture from parks and recreation is something that probably should have been done long ago. Theatres and sports fields simply appeal to different users and they require different approaches and different kinds of decision-making.

So we like the idea of the city refreshing its departments, but what we really like is that this isn’t just about appearances – there is action, too. The city intends to reorganize a handful of its mandates and services while at the same time managing to reduce some of its highest-paid positions in the process.

We taxpayers can always use a break, but we rarely get it. There are invariably dams to patch and reservoirs to dig and coal holes to fill, and none of these projects come cheap. If we can save $1 million a year on senior staff salaries, of course that will help when it comes time to try to balance a budget.

In difficult economic times, private companies are sometimes forced to lay off staff, and they find a way to continue to get the job done. We should have every expectation that our municipality will handle any staffing challenges just as deftly.

We just have one question, though. In retrospect, did we need to build so many corner offices at the annex?