Municipal staff

Whistler municipal staff are feeling the pressure of the pandemic


Citing unsustainable workloads that have only been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic – and the added pressure of a ransomware attack that handcuffed city departments in late April – the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) seeks to strengthen its employee base through a budget amendment.

Presented and submitted for the first three readings at the August 17 meeting, the regulation will allocate $ 112,000 in fiscal year 21 and another $ 560,000 in 2022 from general reserves to add 11 new positions to the payroll. of RMOW (but not all permanent full-time).

New additions include: a project manager for the construction of parks and trails; a building official; three computer systems analysts (one short-term and one transitioning from a part-time role to a full-time role); an accountant; a coordinator of capital projects (make permanent a fixed-term position); two archives clerks (both short-term); a settlement enforcement officer; a risk and insurance coordinator; and a computer systems technician (making a permanent role in the long term).

According to a report from staff to the board, the additions were deemed necessary after a leadership retreat in November 2020 with staff and board in which some clear themes emerged: capacity challenges, burnout and too much work with not enough. time to do it.

A subsequent review of the challenges revealed “an organization that has entered 2020 struggling to keep pace with its core services and a growing list of responsibilities with a workforce that has only changed in size only slightly from 2014 levels,” The report from CFO Carlee Price reads. .

The pandemic and the ransomware attack that followed only increased the urgency of the situation, according to the report, leaving RMOW’s current workloads unsustainable and staff resilience weak.

“The pandemic recovery will continue to put operational and political pressure on RMOW. Conflicts and stress with the community and local industry have increased as the dislocation widens between expectations for community level of service and what is possible with existing staff resources ” , indicates the report.

“Maintaining a high quality Whistler product and level of customer service remains paramount and must be achieved regardless of outside challenges. “

While senior executives considered scaling down operations rather than just expanding, “these staff additions have to do with managing the existing workload that needs to be done, so it’s not just about take something off the plate, ”said Virginia, executive director. Cullen the morning after the meeting.

“These are urgent items that need to be completed, but it also provides for some retirements… [so] there’s also succession planning in there.

Not being able to adequately serve the community is “a huge concern for me,” she added.

“[The additions] will be a welcome element of support for staff, ”she said, adding that another major concern is staff retention.

“If you are understaffed for your workload you end up with people leaving because they are getting burned out, so I think that for sure will help build that resilience that has been depleted by the pandemic as well as by the cyberattack. “

The RMOW reversed course on a planned tax increase of 4.89 percent this year, using municipal reserves to reduce the increase to 1.08 percent.

The move is expected to result in larger tax increases in the years to come, although the full implications are still unknown.

Next year’s tax increases won’t be revealed until the Budget Open House in November.

The amendment also shifts spending from general reserves for two other initiatives: municipal hall renovations ($ 130,000); and replacement of underground fuel tanks and vehicle refueling system at the public works site ($ 255,000).

In addition, the amendment will make room in the budget for a $ 446,000 grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities focused on Indigenous outreach, peer support and the provision of shelters. temporary emergencies.


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