Reducing damage to equipment could save City of Regina $284,000, efficiency review says says

A City of Regina consultants’ report says the city can save $284,000 by having employees cause less damage to vehicles and equipment.

Operator damage to vehicles and equipment could be reduced by 50%: Deloitte

The roadways department had the highest total damage at $256,000 in 2019 and $361,000 in 2020. (Brandon Harder/CBC)

The city can save $284,000 if employees caused less damage to vehicles and equipment, a City of Regina consultants' report says.

The recommendation is included in the City of Regina Efficiency Review put together by Deloitte LLP. Council approved the review, projected to save $26.9 million yearly, on Wednesday.

The review says operator damage to vehicles and equipment could be reduced by 50 per cent. It said such damage to vehicles and equipment rose to $749,000 in 2020 from $568,000 in 2019. 

The report singled out the landfill area, which had damage totalling $60,000 in 2019 and $88,000 in 2020 despite having few vehicles.

The roadways department had the highest total damage at $256,000 in 2019 and $361,000 in 2020. 

"Holding operators accountable and implementing controls such as incentives or demerit points would help to reduce operator damage further (possibly up to 80 per cent in the noted high concern areas)," the report said.

The report singled out the landfill area that suffered damage totalling $60,000 in 2019 and $88,000 in 2020 while operating few vehicles. (CBC)

The report recommends using telematics, a method for monitoring cars, trucks and equipment using GPS, to ensure the vehicles and equipment are doing what they should.

Mayor Sandra Masters says $750,000 in avoidable damages is "unacceptable."

"I think that's part of the whole commitment for the comprehensive efficiency review — 'where can we find accountability and improvements in the system delivery,'" Masters said. 

"I think that that is part of the piece of it, which is measuring use of assets and holding people accountable."

Currently, telematics have been installed on about 70 city vehicles, but the data generated is not routinely analyzed. 

Laird Williamson, president of CUPE Local 21 that represents the city's outside workers, told council last week the union has a lot of questions when it comes to using telematics.

"If you're using it for predatory observation, of course there's a concern," Williamson told council. "But if you're using it to monitor, you know, output, product, those types of things — safety, people  who are working alone ... there's not a concern with that.

"It's the way in which a tool is used that would cause any sort of a concern."

The tracking system would also analyze fuel consumption to find savings there, too.

"Our fuel consumption is a little bit higher than it should be," Masters said. 

"Is that idling? Well, that's a significant concern for us, not just from a financial perspective but also from an environmental perspective."

Williamson told council Local 21 has already started a project, in conjunction with the city, called the Union-Leader Efficiency Initiative that covers many of the recommendations in the Deloitte review.

A report to Regina city council says the roadways department had the highest total damage to vehicles and equipment, rising to $361,000 in 2020 from $256,000 in 2019.   (Stefani Langenegger)

"This initiative had the goal of identifying our weaknesses, magnifying our strengths and improving where we need to improve," Williamson said.

"During this pilot, numerous steps were taken, such as identifying performance indicators, creating a roadmap to success, engaging staff, changing processes with equipment and creating new scheduling styles."

Williamson said unions are not 'hamstringing' an effort to increase efficiencies.

"Frontline workers often have the best ideas to improve efficiencies," he said.

Williamson also said the the review assertion that the city does not have a service culture is wrong.

"We must point out that the assertions by your consultant were baseless and couched in anecdotal evidence," Williamson told council. "We would submit that our members are service-focused, but unfortunately the infrastructure does not currently exist to allow this to be done to its fullest."

With files from The Morning Edition