As part of his responsible spending platform, Mayoral candidate Christian Provenzano announced today a proposed Vacancy Management Policy. Provenzano supports the policy as a way to control the City’s growing payroll costs which currently total over $90 million annually.
Provenzano says, “It’s been said that the Mayor and Council can’t control what the City spends on wages and benefits. As Chief Executive Officer of the City, the Mayor cannot just shrug and say that nothing can be done about the largest expense in the City budget. It may be difficult to address the challenge but we need the will and creativity to do it. A Vacancy Management Policy is a natural place to start.”
In the proposed policy, every City job that becomes vacant—through a retirement, transfer, or an employee leaving the City for other employment—would go through a formal review process before rehiring could take place. The review would ask if a position is being done at the right classification, if it should become a part-time rather than full-time position, and in some cases, if the City’s resources are such that it doesn’t need to fill the job at all.
States Provenzano, “I’m going to be perfectly clear: this policy will only apply to positions that become vacant naturally. We will respect all of the collective agreements that the City has with its unions. This policy will not be used to create vacancies and it will be applied with 100 per cent fairness. Every open City of Sault Ste. Marie job will have the same questions asked—from senior management positions down to entry level positions.”
Provenzano also sees the policy as providing a framework to change the City’s approach to upper management positions. He feels strongly that senior managers—such as the CAO and City Commissioners—should be on fixed term contracts as opposed to indefinite employment.
Provenzano remarks, “When a senior executive is hired, in both the public and private sectors, they are most often hired on fixed term contracts with options to renew the contract. All organizations need renewal and change and the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie is no different. As current senior staff retire, I would propose their replacements are hired on fixed term renewable contracts.”
For evidence that a Vacancy Management Policy can be effective, Provenzano points out that the City of Greater Sudbury enacted a similar policy in 2012. In the first year it took effect, the initiative saved Sudbury taxpayers approximately $500,000.