Calgary

City of Calgary layoff process has begun and 'will take a few weeks' to complete

The City of Calgary has begun the process of eliminating hundreds of positions in order to help achieve $60 million in budget reductions approved by council earlier this week.

Senior city administrators offer more detail on what $60M in budget cuts will mean for staff and services

Acting city manager Glenda Cole speaks to reporters about budget cuts on Thursday. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The City of Calgary has begun the process of eliminating hundreds of positions in order to help achieve $60 million in budget reductions approved by council earlier this week.

A total of 233 positions will be eliminated and 115 people currently employed by the city will lose their jobs, according to Glenda Cole, the acting city manager.

"It's never easy to reduce services that we know Calgarians value," she said.

"But ... as public servants, we recognize that we must continually ensure that we are delivering the services that Calgarians want and need, in a thoughtful, efficient and effective manner."

Some of the job losses will come through layoffs and others through retirement, Cole said.

The process "will take a few weeks," said Carla Male, the city's acting chief financial officer.

Numerous positions that are currently vacant will be eliminated. For example, one of two new jobs that had been approved by council last November in the city's climate-change resiliency office will be eliminated, said David Duckworth, the city's general manager of utilities and environmental protection.

Three new jobs that had been approved in that office for next year will "obviously be under review, as well," he added.

David Duckworth is the City of Calgary's general manager of utilities and environmental protection. (Mike Symington/CBC)

"We recognize that we may have to slow down some of the actions that we're pursuing right now," Duckworth said. "We have 244 strategic actions identified in our climate-resilience strategy that we'll be looking at implementing over the next 10 years."

Less emergency training

Katie Black, the city's acting general manager of community services, said staff training for major emergencies will also be reduced.

"When we have to staff the Emergency Operations Centre, it becomes an all-hands-on-deck undertaking and we are looking for people to step into those positions who are trained and ready to respond," she said.

"We will continue to train ... but we will have a little less capacity within the budget to start that work from."

Katie Black, the city's acting general manager of community services, says the cuts mean there will be less staff training for major emergencies. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Cole said that, as of July 9, there were 14,410 city employees.

That figure doesn't include on-call employees, seasonal employees or police officers.

Cole said the the city took a "least-harm approach to service reductions" when deciding where to cut.

Male said the city does not yet have "exact numbers" on how much in savings the job cuts will bring to this year's municipal budget.

Reductions to transit service are set to take effect on Sept. 2.

With files from Scott Dippel

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