Nfld. & Labrador

More job cuts coming, after latest City of St. John's program review

The city said the third phase of the program review process has been completed, which will bring additional cuts of about $7 million and the equivalent of 45 full-time positions by 2017.

Additional cuts of about $7 million expected by 2017, says Coun. Jonathan Galgay

The City of St. John's will be cutting 45 full-time equivalent jobs as part of the city's program review, Coun. Jonathan Galgay said Thursday. (CBC)

Dozens of workers have been hit by the latest phase of program review at the City of St. John's, Coun. Jonathan Galgay announced Thursday.

The third and biggest round of the city's program review process has been completed, which will bring additional cuts of about $7 million and will see more workers lose their jobs by 2017. 

The three phases of the city's spending inspection, which was announced in February following a difficult municipal budget, will result in a total cut of about $13.2 million and the equivalent of 72 full-time positions by next year.

"The process has highlighted several tough budget decisions, and will require changes and reductions moving forward," Galgay told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

"Our residents and tax payers expect us to manage their tax dollars efficiently and effectively."

No impact on public services: Galgay

Galgay said that he expects the resulting savings will be re-invested in the city's upcoming budget, where council is working to reduce taxes on St. John's residents.

He added that despite the cuts, city residents should see little impact, as most of the changes will be taking place "internally."

"Public services are not going to be impacted at all," he insisted.

But back in September, when reacting to a previous round of cuts, CUPE representative Brian Farewell said you would have to be naive to believe services won't be effected.

Brian Farewell, national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, has scoffed at the idea that services wouldn't be affected through previous rounds of program review. (Ted Dillion/CBC)

It's not yet clear exactly how many workers will be affected by the cuts, but the city says the equivalent of 45 more full-time positions will be eliminated by the third round of the review. 

Some unionized workers will be able to "bump" other employees out of their positions; That process will start on Monday.

"Once the process has concluded, we will be able to provide the details on the number of individuals impacted," Galgay said.

10 of the 72 positions cut during the process are in management. 

Reorganizing

The program review has also led to some structural reorganization within the city.

Galgay says that the Office of Strategy and Engagement has been cut, while a new office of Organizational Performance and Strategy will be created.

"It's become very clear to us on council...that focus on efficiency and effectiveness and overall corporate performance is not just during program review, but throughout the entire year," he said.

The latest round of the internal review looked at 76 programs, according to the city, including Metrobus, the fire department and Public Works. 

Galgay says the changes will be made by January, while further review in the New Year will look at some more city departments, like St. John's Sports and Entertainment.

With files from Carolyn Stokes

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