Town undergoing $50,000 organizational review to steamline operation

By Robert Washburn

The town will spend about $50,000 to review its organization and salaries with an eye to improving services and becoming more efficient, says Interim Chief Administration Officer Glenn McGlashon.

Rather than do the review internally, the town hired Toronto-based OCG Strategy and Organization Consulting to look at all the set up and functions of all municipal departments with an eye to improving service delivery.

The reason for contracting out the job is simply the lack of staff resources and time to undertake the study, he said.

“The consultant will provide best practices and have an intimate knowledge that we don’t have without going and using up our limited resources to find out all the same things,” he said.

The study will review and evaluate the current organizational structure and staffing, looking to clarify roles and responsibilities and eliminate duplication and overlap, according to a report delivered to council Monday night.

The town currently operates with 17 departments and 140 employees, Deputy Mayor Stan Frost said.

He sees the study as a critical part of the town’s strategic plan.

“We want to improve our effectiveness and also be more cost-efficient,” he said.

Fears about possible expansion of the organization or the addition of new staff positions should not be a concern, he added.

While he would not promise any new departments or hiring of civil servants, he emphasize the ultimate goal was to bring better service to citizen at a reasonable cost.

“We want to keep an eye on spending, but we also want to make it (the town administration) better for Cobourg,” he said.

McGlashon also noted there may be an impact on the political side, as well. Since the town uses a co-ordinator system, where politicians are assigned a department to oversee, that may change after the review. Additional or fewer departments would change the structure of council.

“It is not one of the goals of the study, but it may have an affect,” he said.

Written for Northumberland Today on July 8, 2013