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Four commissions become two in County’s initial restructuring

The County will transform its existing four commission administrative structure into two commissions – a Commission of Engineering,
Development and Works (formerly Commission of Public Works) and a Commission of Corporate Services and Finance.
The Commission of Recreation, Parks and Culture will be disassembled and integrated into the two remaining commissions and the Community Development Department. The Planning and Building Department will report to the Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works.

Merlin Dewing, Chief Administrative Officer, says the while the commissioner positions in Recreation Parks and Culture and Planning and Building Services will be eliminated, there is potential opportunity for these employees to re-integrate into the new structure. Changes to the commissioner positions will be implemented mid-summer.

Dewing says a more in depth assessment of the County’s administrative needs will continue through late summer and early fall.

“All administrative layers will be evaluated, reviewed and adjusted as necessary, starting at the top of the corporate structure and moving through all staffing layers below,” Dewing said in a press release. “Significant efforts are being made to minimize impact on County employees through early retirement initiatives, attrition, and employee reassignment.

“It is too early to confirm what other positions will ultimately be eliminated, be created, or remain unchanged, but we anticipate an overall reduction in management positions as well as our overall staff complement,” says Dewing. “Initially, we are making fundamental changes to our upper level management structure, and will continue making adjustments to each staffing level from the top down. To change the way we do business, we need to change our structure. While this won’t change the types of services we provide, it will change the way we deliver them.”

The new structure, he says, aims to ensure “the number of management positions is proportionate to the corporation’s needs, and by utilizing staff skills and resources effectively and appropriately in the delivery of County services as an integral piece of our ongoing sustainability efforts.”

He said the County’s corporate realignment is not limited to organizational structure, “but will also refresh all aspects of the way the County does business to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability.”

Robert McAuley, Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works and Susan Turnbull, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Finance will be given additional responsibilities to complement their existing portfolio, and absorb some responsibilities and staff of Recreation, Parks and Culture and Planning and Building Services.

To support this realignment, both the newly created Community Development Department and the Human Resources Department will now report directly to the CAO.

Dewing says the Community Development Department will have a broad mandate, not only leading Community Development, but working with the newly created Community Development Commission to create the Community Development Strategic Plan, providing input for the Corporate Strategic Plan, and implementing a one window approach for development proposals.

“The department will also be using culture and heritage assets
as economic drivers, overseeing grants and applications, managing County real estate sales and leasing, and providing assistance to small businesses including business retention and expansion.”

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    It sounds like a good idea to have 2 commisioners instead of 4
    Now if council would agree to the re-structuring that most of us voted for it would be an asset. We do not need more councillors than Belleville which has a much larger tax base than we do.

  2. john mckinney says:

    Keep the wheat !

  3. Gary Mooney says:

    Mark, the water and sewage rates problem were created during the previous Council term, before Robert McAuley was hired. Believe me, I know, because of my involvement with Concerned Citizens and our concerted but unsuccessful efforts to get the previous Council to choose a cost-effective solution. And even earlier, there was a disastrous roads paving program . These capital projects have to be paid out over many years, and nobody can provide a quick fix.

    Since arriving here, Susan Turnbull has done an excellent job of improving the budget process, including addressing the budgeting deficiencies of the past — e.g. the failure to build up reserves for capital projects. And much of our current problem relates to the ever-increasing cost of external services such as OPP, over which the County has zero control. No quick fix for these problems either.

    Commissioners Turnbull and McAuley are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

  4. Mark says:

    Well I am far from having confidennce in the initial changes. The Commissioner of Corporate Services and Finance has been here for several years now. The financial situation since her arrival has worsened each and every year until it has reached a crisis. The reward for that dismal performance is increased responsibility. The Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works has also now been here several years. Utilitiy costs particularly water and sewage have shot through the roof and disproportionate to other municipalities. Our road maintennance has been critically lacking and many are now in a dangerous state. Once again the reward for that performance is increased responsibilities. I’d say the verdict is still out for a long time. Reward needs to be based upon performance. Performance to date is under achieving. Let’s see if the duplication of services is now addressed.

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    What is being described reminds me of a classic corporate restructuring: starting at the top and working down in stages, and assigning increased responsibilities to the top performers.  It’s clear from the media release that the restructuring project is substantive, and not just tinkering.

    This restructuring benefits heavily from the prior experience of Mayor Mertens in the corporate world, and Merlin Dewing in the municipal world.  And from the support of Council in approving these changes.

    After fourteen years, County government is finally entering the post-amalgamation era.  County residents will now be able to focus on the future, rather than obsessing on how nothing good came from amalgamation.

    As a taxpayer, I feel confident that our municipal government is in good hands.  I have confidence in our Council, Mayor Mertens and senior management — Merlin Dewing, Robert McAuley and Susan Turnbull.

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