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County saves money by reversing decision on new hires


Essec county civic centre

 

Two months into 2024, and Essex County is already saving money.


However, the decision not to hire two of the originally recommended seven new positions came with a lot of discussion and confusion last Wednesday night.


At its regular session, Essex County Council decided to hire the following positions and the salaries that go along with them - EMS shift scheduling clerk ($93,279); senior planner ($96,924); director of information technology ($180,903); assistant director of nursing for the Sun Parlour Home ($147,681); and clerk ($192,095).


All of those salaries are considered to be pro-rated for 2024 as the positions have not yet been filled.


Not approved were a community services co-ordinator ($89,110) and a customer service representative at $51,842.


The confusion came because county council council members felt that when they passed the current budget, that it included hiring of all seven. Instead, county council on Wednesday decided to, one-by-one, decide on the new hires.


“Administration did hear from council during the (budget) deliberation process and this is the last time you will see the report in this order in terms of approval,” said CAO Sandra Zwiers.


She indicated that for 2025, any new positions in the budget will be hired once the budget is passed.


“These positions were done at budget. The money was there and they were all discussed at that time and we move on,” said Tecumseh Mayor and former Warden Gary McNamara.


McNamara said he was confused to why county council was looking at approving the process again.


As a result of not hiring a community services co-ordinator or a customer service representative, Essex County will save $140,952 which Zwiers said will go into surplus for 2024.


A motion to hire all seven was defeated after a 7-7 tied vote count which prompted Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy to see if council wanted to vote on each one individually, which it did eventually do.


“I wonder if there is any appetite for council to go through them one at a time,” asked Bondy.


Bondy also suggested that in the future, the county undertake a process where they look into their staffing needs into the future.


“Do we absolutely need them all?” she asked about the seven new positions. “We should be doing an organization review.”


After council voted against hiring all seven, and then deciding to look at each one individually, LaSalle Deputy Mayor Michael Akpata wanted a point of order on whether or not they could proceed and do one at a time.


“You can reconsider at this meeting and then proceed to individually review them,” advised county clerk Mary Birch.

 

By Fred Groves

 

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