Logic of city hall restructuring not immediately apparent

Two & Out
By James Peters
March 4, 2018 - 5:00am
Image Credit: CFJC Today

AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR.

City of Kamloops CAO David Trawin announced last week there would only be four senior managers reporting to him instead of five after David Duckworth takes his leave to Calgary. 

That means the purview of Duckworth's former department is being split up between the other four directors: Jen Fretz, Byron McCorkell, Marvin Kwiatkowski and Kathy Humphrey. 

The savings from not paying a senior manager and an executive assistant could total out to as much as $325,000, but Trawin hedged his bets by saying the city might not save that much if it finds it can't survive without the two people on staff. 

Saving money is good, and an ever-present complaint from Kamloopsians on city hall is that the upper echelon of the bureaucracy is bloated and expensive. 

The new departmental structure, however, is a head-scratcher. 

I listened to Trawin's explanation of the blueprint a couple of times, and still couldn't quite wrap my head around it. 

McCorkell, whose career has been built on Kamloops' parks and recreation department, keeps recreation services but will also manage police, bylaws and fire. 

Parks operations now falls under the direction of Fretz who has spent her most recent career in charge of public works and utilities.

Parks planning goes to Kwiatkowski.

So there are now two people in charge of parks, and neither of them are the manager who has been in charge of parks for more than a decade.

The city's four directors may succeed with their new duties, but the division of duties is still somewhat illogical.

For most city residents, all this organizational structure won't make much difference. 

As long as your green spaces are green, your garbage gets picked up and your roads get fixed, you'll be happy campers. 

But an unfamiliar and confusing structure may have an impact on those whose salaries you pay. 

It may require more time and more personnel to straighten out who's answering to who. 

That means more money, and we'll see that $325,000 in savings get eaten up pretty quickly.

When it comes to municipal bureaucracy, the prevailing wisdom is that less is more.

We'll see if that bears out with these confusing new changes.