ARICHAT: The municipality wants to post the results of their organizational review on-line, but how exactly to do that is the subject of debate.
During the monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on October 23, Warden Brian Marchand wanted to know why documents councillors were provided during meetings, were not included in the organizational review report.
Marchand explained that a motion was made at the September 25 regular monthly meeting of council to post information on-line and he wants all documents made public.
“I believe that the public has a right to see all documents with the exception of documents including personnel info – unless redacted,” Marchand wrote via e-mail. “My thoughts were to remove any privileged or confidential status that may have been on any documents… I believe all documents need to be released.”
In January, then Interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Maris Freimanis confirmed that the municipality used its public procurement process to hire SLP Developmental Service Inc. to carry out an organizational review of the county’s operations.
According to figures provided by Freimanis, the organizational review will carry a price tag of $22,400, with council also covering expenses totaling $2,060 plus the resulting Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) involving the company’s work.
In August, current interim CAO Louis Digout confirmed that the municipality eliminated the operations coordinator position within its Department of Public Works, as well as the post of coordinator of information technology services and administrative support.
In response to a point from district 1 councillor James Goyetche that personal or confidential information cannot be released, Marchand responded that he wants to publish numbers, not names.
During the public question period, the organizational review came up again. St. Peter’s resident Germaine White MacDonald wanted to know why the municipality is not following all the recommendations in the report.
Marchand responded that the municipality is not obligated to follow every recommendation.
“I don’t believe they have to,” Marchand responded via e-mail. “Councils get [consultants] to review/study things and they make recommendations. Councils review those and decide if they are in line with our goals or not and proceed accordingly.”
Petit de Grat resident Robert Fougere also had questions about the organizational review. He said he received organizational review documents but found them “confusing.” Fougere said he was given information on day-to-day activities like weather stripping on a public works building, how the municipality plans to run the Richmond Arena, and other information which identifies some municipal personnel.
“There are things in there that aren’t very private,” Fougere said, noting that even though names are not provided, it is clear who is being referenced.
Fougere said he received nothing pertaining to the salary scale. He also said he requested the terms of reference for the review but instead received a memo that there were changes to the original terms. Fougere said he has been unable to find the original terms because of privileged information.
Interim Chief Administrative Officer Louis Digout explained the privileged information pertains to personnel issues which arose and positions eliminated as a result of the review.
Marchand responded that the terms of the organizational review were not changed but “extra costs” required explanation.
“There was extra work done which was not part of the review,” he wrote.
Marchand went on that council has accepted parts of the review, including the salary scales and organizational chart, and added that salaries and benefits are going to be posted on-line.
“My plan is to get that info out,” the warden stated. “We approved a [salary] scale and that needs to be public.”