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RMOW organization review underway

Staffing levels, services examined in year-long RMOW review



What services the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) provides to residents, how they are provided and who provides them, is under scrutiny by an independent consultant in an effort to tighten the belt on municipal spending.

Neilson-Welch Consulting Inc., an Okanagan-based local government consultancy, began the RMOW's organizational review in late summer. It is expected to take a year to complete. The first phase of the assessment, which wrapped up before Christmas, focused on administrative structures and involved council and senior management's evaluation of staffing levels in various departments.

"It's (staffing) based on demand, on the work," said RMOW chief administrative officer, Bill Barratt.

"We're down around 13 FTEs (full time equivalents) and are back down to 2007 -2008 staffing levels. That was something that we recognized going into the Games - that we were approaching build out and that we would probably need less staff so that's how we've been operating."

The review is now heading into its second phase and will require input and involvement of a broader cross section of municipal staff to examine where service efficiencies can be made.

"The fact is that we still need to maintain water, sewer, we still have Meadow Parks Sports Centre and a lot of the services don't change so then we have to look at: 'OK, are there some efficiencies in how we perform those services?'" continued Barratt, adding it was too early in the process to comment on what services are likely to change as a result of the review.

The Service Review Program is completing a pilot program within the Resort Experience Department to work out any kinks related to the evaluation process. The consultant will move on to other departments after the pilot has been successfully realized.

Ways to shift resources to help RMOW adjust to various economic and social trends are also being examined through the review, with a focus on tourism and new markets.

"For the last couple of years we've had incredible summer business - should we be shifting resources to covering summer than other areas - those are the things we've been looking at," said Barratt.

Neilson-Welch Consulting Inc. will deliver its final report to council in September of 2011, though council will receive interim reports until then. The last organizational review conducted by the RMOW took place in the late nineties.