Mayor offers to hug City Manager for recommending so many public sector layoffs
City of Ottawa employees are bracing for what could become a day of reckoning as the Mayor and Council ponder major layoffs to help cut costs. It is all part of what Mayor Larry O'Brien is calling the Corporate Realignment Project (CRP).
Overall, the City would like to cut at least $100 million dollars from their operating budget by producing increased efficiencies and trimming the overall number of public sector employees on the payroll. O'Brien is hoping that as many of 500 full-time employees could be laid off as part of CRP. The public sector unions would prefer the project be renamed the Corporate Realignment Adjustment Project - just kidding.
The Citizen has a great report on the growing unease public servants are feeling in the City of Ottawa regarding the pending cuts. They note there is a really a tale of two cities when you look at Ottawa's approach to budget financing compared to Toronto. In TO, they are planning to hire at least 1000 more public servants as a way to help stimulate the local economy.
Here is an excerpt from the Citizen story on potential layoffs:
"Last year in Ottawa, city manager Kent Kirkpatrick eliminated 100 unfilled municipal jobs and announced his intention to cut 230 more.
Kirkpatrick has cut 16 jobs from the two top ranks of the bureaucracy so far, with larger numbers expected as the cuts move deeper into the city's public service. He has said the realignment is designed to improve city services and help control spending, two goals council approved for this term of office. O'Brien, elected on a promise to cut through bureaucracy at City Hall, has given Kirkpatrick strong political support. He said he is keen to see decision-making ability pushed down to frontline workers, which he believes will help deliver better service. He also said that during an economic downturn, municipal governments have a duty to hold the line on tax increases.
After the last round of cuts, O'Brien said of Kirkpatrick: "I want to hug him and tell him to keep going."
As for Mayor O'Brien, he will be heading to court in April to deal with two Criminal Code charges, under Section 121 (1) (d) and the second under Section 125 (b). The charges are: Pretending to have influence with the government or a minister, contrary to Section 121(1)(d)(ii), and negotiating an appointment contrary to Section 125(b). We'll keep you posted as the trial gets underway.