Two City of Victoria managers have lost their jobs as part of corporate restructuring expected to save $500,000 a year and hold the lid on municipal tax increases.
Peter Sparanese, general manager of operations, with a salary ranging from $174,649 to $199,002, saw his job eliminated. A vacant position of general manager of strategic services was also cut.
Department directors will now report directly to the city manager, the chief bureaucrat at city hall.
Roy Brooke, director of sustainability, whose salary ranged from $141,349 to $161,252, is also no longer with the city, as his job has been eliminated. The sustainability function will be integrated into other departments. Neither Brooke nor Sparanese could be reached for comment.
The city said savings from eliminating the jobs and other restructuring moves, such as not proceeding with the creation of an office of project management, will help the city hold any tax increases to 3.25 per cent in 2014 and 2015. City council voted last year to set a 3.25 per cent cap on tax increases for 2013 to 2015.
The restructuring moves were announced Tuesday in an internal memo to city staff from Mayor Dean Fortin and in a news release.
Fortin said in an interview that the announcements made for “a difficult day.”
“We recognize we have to review our organization,” he said. “But we also recognize that when we eliminate positions, there are people behind them, good people.”
The restructuring comes on the heels of recommendations contained in a $75,000 review conducted by Maximus Canada, management consultants specializing in public organizations.
Beginning last October, Maximus compared Victoria to other municipalities and concluded the city’s administration is generally lean. It spends the same or less than similar-sized cities, including Nanaimo, Kamloops, Kelowna and Vancouver.
However, the report noted that keeping tax increases to 3.25 per cent will mean the city has to reduce spending by $3 million a year for several years.
Fortin said the city has already taken significant steps to achieve those savings, including asking its police department to hold any budget increases to two per cent. “We are very close,” he said.
But John Burrows, president of CUPE Local 50, which represents unionized city workers, said Tuesday’s announcements amounted to nothing more than the city eliminating senior management positions it created in recent years.
Meanwhile, Fortin said the city has hired a corporate search specialist to help hire a replacement for former city manager Gail Stephens, who left in July to become chief operating officer of the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.
Conference Centre general manager Jocelyn Jenkyns is serving as acting city manager.
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