Senior community managers poised for wave of retirements
Communities across Canada are facing a staffing crunch among senior administrators, says a municipal affairs scholar and advisor.
Photo by Chuck Tobin
STAFFING DILEMMA LOOMS – Gordon McIntosh had some sobering news for municipal leaders attending last weekend’s annual conference of the Association of Yukon Communities in Watson Lake.
WATSON LAKE – Communities across Canada are facing a staffing crunch among senior administrators, says a municipal affairs scholar and advisor.
Gordon McIntosh told municipal leaders attending last weekend’s annual conference of the Association of Yukon Communities the issues facing communities are numerous.
There’s the rising cost of energy, increasing operating and maintenance costs, along with a growing public demand for services, he said.
McIntosh said communities are facing the challenges of growth, with mounting housing needs, land availability, while senior governments continue to download more responsibilities through
Municipalities, he said, also need to be aware of the pending shortage of senior managers. As well, they should be looking at ways to ensure the next generation of administrators are ready
to move up.
Between 60 and 70 per cent of senior managers in Canada are scheduled to retire in the next five to seven years, McIntosh told the elected community leaders gathered in Watson Lake.
In Hay River, N.W.T., three of their five senior staff are retiring now.
It’s imperative that municipalities makes plans to fill the vacancies, and provide the required training to avoid throwing staff a position they’re not prepared for.
In an interview afterwards, McIntosh said the danger – and it is happening – is moving a senior official up the ladder when their skill set doesn’t meet the tasks of the job.
It’s the senior official who ultimately pays the price, he said.
Take, for example, McIntosh said, the communities’ manager of public works who is good at his job, comfortable with it, who is suddenly moved into the position of chief administrative officer, and is abruptly in over his head.
He eventually loses his job and faces the very real risk of having to move his family away to find work, McIntosh said.
He told community leaders there is a move afoot down south to promote regional collaboration; to encourage local community governments to work together.
Manitoba, B.C. and Alberta are already providing bonus transfer payments to communities to encourage regionalization, McIntosh told the elected officials and their senior staff.
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