Apologies for Delayed Response Time
Thank you media for covering this important issue:
Winnipeg Free Press: City eyes council ward allowance hike
Winnipeg Sun: City councillor jousts with Mayor over staff salaries
COVID-19 is bringing many challenges to Councillors’ offices:
- Challenges, calls & inquiries related to service delivery (partial openings of libraries, transit ridership, increased crime, addiction, encampments, etc.)
- There is much focus on many societal issues that are also increasing call volumes: anti Chinese & anti Semitic racism, Black Lives Matter, atrocities related to Indigenous peoples, Islamophobia – and so much more.
- The City of Winnipeg 311 system is experiencing much higher call volumes than normal. This results in increased calls to Councillors’ offices
- The ability for residents to now Zoom into City Hall meetings to participate in the decision making process is an incredible benefit to public engagement, but is resulting in City Hall meetings that are usually 3-4 hours, to now extending for 8 – 10 hours. These longer meetings result in longer delays for Councillors’ to respond to incoming calls and emails.
This new reality is highlighting a long standing issue of inadequate office funding support:
- Winnipeg City Councillors’ offices are the lowest resourced offices in all of Canada.
- City Councillors office funding support allows for $1.66 per capita – see table below. (Whereas Provincial MLA’s office support is $11.62 per capital to the number of residents in their riding)
- In addition to hiring an assistant, Councillors must use the office budget allocation to pay for basic office operations: telephones, photocopying, mailers, newsletters, couriers, websites, etc.
The current office funding support provided to Councillors, results in:
- Inadequate response time to calls / emails
- An almost nonexistent ability to research best practices to support good policy development
- An unnecessary cost to taxpayers because of the high turnover rate (50% over the current Council term) and the cost to invest in training, then have to re hire and retrain, time and time again
I’ve worked in fields of customer service all my life, and want to improve how the City delivers customer service. I believe it is incredibly important to have time, and resources to research best practices to support good policy development for our City. I find the cost of training related to the high turnover rate unacceptable. Because of all these reason, I will be supporting the Councillor Resources motion coming forward to increase funding support for office staff for Councillors.
In the meantime though – please know I am a very engaged Councillor on many issues, and am doing my best to respond to inquiries, and deliver a top service, under the current COVID-19 climate, with the existing resources available to my office. So, be persistent – if I’ve not replied – send another email or call.
Thank you for taking time to review this information.
2020 Cross Jurisdictional Results
|City||Office Budget||Staff Budget||Staff Pension||Per Capita||Average
|Calgary||$280,900||City RRSP contributions up to 7.5% of base salary||$3.22||87,314|
**In addition to the office and staff budget above, the 10 Councillors in Vancouver share 5 Assistants who are city employees paid out of a $400,000.00 budget which equates to an additional value of $40,000 per Councillor and increases the value of each Councillor’s budget to $117,522 with a per capita rating of $1.86
Table excerpt from: Councillor Office Resources Report