By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 6 2016
Minden Hills Councillor Pam Sayne wants the township to hire a consultant to conduct a review of its department and management structure while other councillors aren’t so sure that’s necessary.
In a written recommendation reviewed and discussed by council during a Sept. 29 meeting Sayne said she believes such a review would “help distinguish the administrative role and the political roles” and “provide professional advice on staff structuring used by municipalities generally and particular advice to Minden Hills needs where we are and where we may need to be headed.”
In addition Sayne believes councillors and staff should be taking part in bullying and harassment workshops.
“This workshop is recommended every two years” Sayne wrote. “I do not believe this has been offered locally before. It is recommended that the other municipalities in Haliburton County be invited to participate.”
“I think this is premature” said Reeve Brent Devolin noting that council has a mid-term review planned for Nov. 3. “To jump and do this before our mid-term review is premature.”
“I think it’s the appropriate time to do it to have that outside perspective before we get together to do our mid-term review” Sayne responded. “If we keep postponing it things keep festering and more frustrations.”
According to chief administrative officer Lorrie Blanchard the type of organizational review Sayne is talking about which would include one-on-one interviews with councillors and employees could cost between $10000 and $30000.
“That’s a big spend” said Councillor Ron Nesbitt.
Councillor Lisa Schell wondered if the township couldn’t put out a request for proposals explaining what the township was looking for and see what kind of quotes it receives.
Blanchard said that was possible but that such a process would not be completed by Nov. 3.
Councillor Jean Neville and Jeanne Anthon agreed with Devolin saying that after the mid-term review council could decide if the hiring of a consultant was necessary.
Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch was staunchly opposed to the concept.
“”I’ve been here for 13 years and I’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly” Murdoch said. “There was a time when we were broken and we needed to be fixed.”
Murdoch explained this time was during the previous term of council.
“To take taxpayer money to look into a study that is not necessary at this time I do not support” she said.
Council agreed that the topic of an organizational review would be put on the agenda of a November meeting for discussion.
As for the bullying and harassment workshop staff will be looking into options and what that process would cost.
“Sometimes if you’re on top you don’t realize you’re oppressing those below” Sayne said. “I think those things need to be understood.”