HUNTSVILLE – Five new names will find themselves on the Town of Huntsville’s list of employees over the next few months.
The town went through a restructuring process in April that saw nine people lose their jobs. But Kelly Pender, chief administrative officer for the town, said the new hires are not re-filling the positions that had been eliminated as part of restructuring.
Instead, most are filling new positions created as part of the restructuring process.
The five positions mentioned at a corporate service committee meeting on Oct. 11 included a training officer/suppression captain and a mechanical officer/suppression captain at the Huntsville Fire Department as well as a committee and records co-ordinator, accounting clerk and community engagement co-ordinator.
The fire department positions came out of recommendations found in the fire services master plan, which was completed this year, and the records co-ordinator and accounting clerk positions arose out of town hall rejigging.
Pender said town chose to go through a hiring process for the town hall positions instead of shifting former employees around because the positions require “new skill sets.”
Records co-ordination was largely handled by former clerk Katie Gilchrist, who retired last year, said Pender. Instead of hiring a new employee to fill the clerk position, the town split the job between several existing employees, leaving the management of municipal records as an additional task for employees with other tasks to handle.
“Nobody was picking up the records management component, which is a requirement under the Municipal Act,” said Pender.
The restructuring allowed for the creation of a dedicated records co-ordinator position to take pressure off existing staff, said Pender.
The accounting clerk will assist with accounting and bookkeeping for the municipality.
The position was created because of the additional workload that resulted from changes to provincial reporting requirements. One example is that municipalities are now required to create capital investment plans that anticipate the replacement value of existing infrastructure, determine when it will need replacing, and ways to fund those replacements.
“There is a need for more accounting expertise,” said Pender.
The community engagement co-ordinator is largely the new title for the economic development and grants officer position, though some of the position’s responsibilities will be shifted to the community services director when John Finley, economic development and grants officer, retires at the end of the year.
The salaries of the new positions range from $40,000 to $60,000, said Pender. The impact on the budget was calculated as part of the restructuring process. With the elimination of former positions and the termination of several employees, the town expects to save about $300,000 a year even with the new positions, less undisclosed termination costs.
Once the positions are filled, the number of town employees will sit at 83, which is the same number it had in 2006.