Edmonton Audit Report

You have probably seen the most recent audit report by now, with the most recent recommendation to reduce costs by cutting management positions. I will be up front: I disagree with issuing a random number of job cuts without looking at the consequences; that is just plain reckless. By pursuing this motion, Council and Administration are only showing Edmontonians that they fail to understand how our corporation works and how the business of the city and its employees transact. In my opinion, right-sizing Administration is not about cutting jobs, but about getting the greatest value from the organization. It saddens me that not many on Council can see this.

I agree that we have too many full-time employees in management. It is a symptom – but it is definitely not the cause of the problem. The issue is that we have more managers than needed. Front-line workers are essential. The cuts need to be a fair balance. If we are cutting too many front-line employees, we should be cutting managers simultaneously, otherwise who then will our managers be managing?  We cannot make an impulsive decision without first knowing the root cause– and the root cause is this: the City of Edmonton’s management team; the reckless decisions that are made without considering the repercussions.

Before we make reckless across-the-board cuts based purely on full-time employees – which is only one measure of efficiency – we need to examine the whole exercise under the lens of productivity. What’s working? What’s not? Where can we improve? If we are receiving great productivity, we save money, improve service, and therefore, we get better value for our taxes. Cutting full-time employees and throwing the problem back to Administration will not get us a positive outcome.

Correcting The Imbalance With Middle Management

To get to where we want to go, we need to do the following:

  1. Begin looking at the grievance and compensation structures. From there, we streamline what packages are going to be needed and what those costs are going to be to ensure we net out appropriately.
  2. We need to deal with positions that are improperly classified and what work they are doing to ensure that front line services are protected. From there, we can properly classify.
  3.  A proper and full disclosure of our vacancies needs to be completed. They need to be assessed and calculated to also ensure that right size levels of management are being applied and not duplicated.

By following these steps, we are addressing the issue competently and professionally. We are prioritizing what and where our targets need to be, prioritizing and organizing our metrics, in order to execute a successful outcome. Picking a blanket number and throwing it back to our Executive Leadership Team and indirectly saying “you go figure it out,” without the first three points being addressed is unfair and reckless direction.

– Mike