BANFF – The Town of Banff is spending $50,000 to hire an independent consultant to study staffing levels and wages for the municipality.
Council voted 5-0 to approve the two-pronged analysis to be funded through a surplus from the Workers’ Compensation Board – not taxpayer dollars.
“I think the funding coming from that surplus is a good use of those dollars,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen.
“Those funds are intended to be used for employee-centred initiatives, which I believe this is.”
The consulting firm will be tasked with analysing staffing levels as well as hours of work, and scheduling and equipment practices. The municipality’s total compensation package, including wages and traditional and non-traditional benefits, will be studied.
The analysis will also include a recommendation of whether or not to continue with the compensation philosophy of paying at the 50th percentile, meaning 50 per cent of comparable organizations pay more and 50 per cent pay less than Banff’s median rate.
Since 2017, overall staffing levels at the Town of Banff has increased from 252 employees to 280 employees, including full-time, part-time, seasonal and casual employees. Of the 280, 156 are full-time positions.
Barbara King, human resources manager for the Town of Banff, said the Town had 133 full-time employees at the end of 2010, adding that’s an increase of almost 30 per cent in full-time jobs within 10 years.
“Analysis of the success, efficiency gains or alignment of these resources to deliver services, council expectations and priorities has not occurred,” she said.
“It would be evaluating that we have the 'right' number of people doing the 'right' things with the 'right' equipment at the 'right' time.”
King said there is a perception in a number of hiring departments that recruitment is impeded by the cost of housing and living in Banff, and that this is influenced by paying only at the 50th percentile.
“It will be looking at some of the affordability issues and some of the challenges right now with recruitment, particularly within the technical brand of positions,” she said, referring to positions such as journey mechanics and heavy equipment technicians among others.
“Right now when they come to Banff that ability to step into the real estate market or rental market is not easy.”
Councillors Peter Poole and Ted Christensen weren’t present at the meeting.