Hiring outpaces population growth at Kelowna City Hall - InfoNews

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Hiring outpaces population growth at Kelowna City Hall

Kelowna City Hall
December 24, 2018 - 11:00 AM

KELOWNA - City Hall is on the fast track to reaching the 1,000-employee mark as early as 2020.

It will take a big boost in staffing to get there by 2020 but given the hiring tear the city’s been on over the last couple of years, that number is certainly achievable.

The recent City of Kelowna budget adds 38 full-time positions next year. That's in addition to the 875 full-timers already working there. This does not include plans to hire six more RCMP officers because the RCMP is a contract service.

The addition is a 4.3 per cent increase in staff, which is right in line with the 4.4 per cent tax hike.

In 2018, 31 new full-time positions were added. That was a 3.7 per cent increase. Taxes went up 2.99 per cent in 2018.

All this at a time when population growth in the city as a whole was below two per cent. B.C. Government estimates say Kelowna’s population grew by one per cent from 2016 to 2017 and 1.4 per cent the year before.

By this time next year, if all positions are filled, the city will employ 913 staff. It will take a hefty 9.5 per cent increase to reach the 1,000 mark – maybe just a bit too much in a single year - but 2021 should see it reached.

On the other hand, it could be argued, the city has already passed the 1,000 mark because, at the end of September, it also had 178 casual, temporary or term hires on the payroll, bringing the total of actual employees to 1,053.

Plus, according to Human Resource director Stuart Leatherdale, the city pays as much to contractors as it does for staff.

That includes 183 RCMP officers (civilians working for the detachment are counted in the numbers above), contract engineers (the city only does about 15 per cent of its own engineering work), consultants and things like snow plow operators, security guards and janitors at various locations.

The new hires are budgeted for half or three-quarters of 2019 and will cost taxpayers $732,000 in 2019 and more in 2020 when they have to be paid for a full year.

BY THE NUMBERS

Full-time unionized workers: 710
Full-time managers: 165
Total full-time: 875
Part-time/casual/temporary: 178
Total employees: 1,053

SOME OF THE NEW HIRES FOR 2019

  • Legislative Coordinator to help with freedom of information requests
  • Security manager to look after all the private security the city hires
  • Bylaw officer to enforce new pot and short-term stay regulations
  • Bylaw officer to boost enforcement of the updated sign bylaw
  • Four firefighters (with another four planned for 2020)
  • Financial Analyst in the Infrastructure Division
  • Sponsorship and Advertising Advisor
  • Two operating intelligence clerks
  • Manager of Airport Technology
  • Senior Transportation Manager
  • Environmental Coordinator
  • Utility Planning Technician
  • Two meter technicians
  • Two millwrights

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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