Mayor and council were in the hot seat on Monday night as Port Alberni resident Neil Anderson grilled them on the management review budgeted for 2015.
“Considering there was a report in 2011, what does council expect from this current report? Please be specific because the information that’s been made available to me doesn’t satisfy myself. I want you to convince me that the expenditure is a wise one,” Anderson said.
He was supported by Coun. Denis Sauve, the only councillor to vote against the management review when it was proposed.
“I got to see how the structure works in the City of Port Alberni. I came out with the opinion that we’re actually working with a skeleton staff,” Sauve said. “I am satisfied with the departments and the way they’re structured. I personally didn’t see a need for it, I could see that money going elsewhere.”
Coun. Jack McLeman said that council couldn’t provide specifics yet but that “if this is done properly this won’t be wasted dollars.”
“We didn’t get efficiencies. Period,” McLeman added after Anderson said he didn’t feel like his question had been answered.
“I don’t understand what you mean by that,” Anderson replied.
“It’s a word everybody uses and I finally figured it out. We didn’t save any money, how about that,” McLeman replied.
When asked about how many recommendations came down from the 2011 review, councillors told Anderson that they weren’t sure.
When informed by city manager Ken Watson that the 2011 review was on the city website, Anderson told council that he “would expect that council would know this information because it’s on the website.”
This wasn’t the first time Anderson had attempted to ask council about the review.
At the April 27 meeting, Mayor Mike Ruttan did not allow Anderson to ask a question about the management review because it hadn’t come up at the meeting. During the May 11 meeting, Anderson made sure to submit letters to council about the review to ensure that he would be allowed to bring it up during question period.
Ruttan said “we wish to do a review to ensure that we have the city organized in such a way that gives us the best value for money and that we have the correct number of managers with the correct sets of the responsibilities.”
Ruttan said that the review could not be done in house.
“What we’re looking at is someone…that can ask the questions that frankly as a council we don’t have.”
Anderson remained unconvinced.
“Nothing I’ve heard tonight convinces me that there’s any real benefit we can’t obtain by communication with other municipalities.”