The County recently received funding from the Province to find efficiencies in the multiple Fire Departments in the County (see report in link below) and at the Committee of the Whole meeting on 9 March 2020, Town Clerk Brent Larmer announced that the Town itself had received a grant of $86,496 from the Province to do a review of “service delivery” so as to achieve cost savings and efficiencies. Brent’s memo to Council said that “This Provincial program [Ontario’s new Municipal Modernization Program] is intended to help municipalities become more efficient and modernize service delivery while protecting front line jobs.” The report must be made available to the public by September 18, 2020. The work will be done by the current Town auditor, KPMG, since they are familiar with the Town’s operations and there is insufficient time to call for quotes.
Councillors were concerned about the single sourcing but since they are the long time Town auditor, KPMG is uniquely qualified to do the work and is a reputable company with the requisite skills. Also, since many Ontario Municipalities will be looking for qualified reviewers in the same time frame, it would be difficult to get sensible quotes in the time available – after all, everyone knows how much money has been provided. In the end the project was approved.
It is expected that KPMG will:
“….provide an analysis of the key operations of the municipality’s departments and their services and programs, examining trends over time and contrasting comparator municipalities of similar size and service levels. This comparison will identify opportunities for improvement that will achieve greater efficiency in municipal operations, reduce operating costs and establish long term sustainability. The review will be conducted through a process that is factual, analytical and transparent.”
It’s hard to see how you can increase efficiency whilst protecting jobs Given that premise, it seems to me that the alternatives are an increase in the services provided for the same cost or staff reductions which rely on a mix of natural turnover plus re-assignment of jobs. Perhaps another option is to do more work in house instead of using consultants.
See Expression of Interest document attached to Brent’s memo (in the link below) for more detail on what exactly should be reviewed.
Separately, the Town plans “a survey of citizens and ratepayers and other public engagement activities to provide additional perspective on the Town’s Service Delivery.”
In any event, the report in September should be interesting.
- Review of Fire Department Efficiencies – 7 March 2020
- Brent Larmer’s Memo recommending acceptance of the grant – from Civic Web
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