_ ** Editor’s note: A wave of job cuts hit city hall Wednesday. A total of 75 managers and 102 unionized employees were given pink slips. City Manager Steve Kanellakos says the cuts will save $14 million and increase efficiency by eliminating extra levels of management. The changes will directly or indirectly affect up to 1,400 employees, some of whom will get new roles. ** _ _ (Memo from City Manager Steve Kanellakos) _ I’ve been open about my vision for the City since the day I returned as City Manager. Over the past five months I have worked with all levels of the organization to prepare for our collective success. We faced very real challenges and could not continue to work within an environment constrained by deficits and limited room for growth and creativity. Change was required to create a sustainable organization that works within our financial means.
To address these issues and meet Council’s 2015 direction to complete an administrative review, I reached out to thousands of you to understand what’s working and what’s not. This extensive outreach effort generated over 10,000 comments and ideas, with the top issue being the overall effectiveness of our organization. This week, we completed the final step of the organizational alignment with your feedback as the driver behind the changes.
Setting the Foundation – Step One
On July 13, I announced changes to the organizational structure with consolidated departments and a streamlined and empowered senior leadership team with 9 senior leaders, down from 21. This structure and new team was endorsed by Council. By consolidating departments, the administration can work more effectively to meet Council priorities and better serve the public. How we manage and govern ourselves sets the framework for how the rest of our workforce delivers the essential programs and services Ottawa residents rely on 24⁄7.
Renewing the Organization – Step Two
Over the summer months, your senior leadership team took on the challenging task of designing departmental transition plans that mirror the corporate organizational structure and principles announced in July. This meant we had to update our operating model.
This was a complex process and we, as a senior leadership team, had to make some very difficult decisions. I want you to know that every senior leader carefully considered the impacts of their departmental transition plan on our City team and on the services we provide to residents.
With the overall goal of increasing the City’s organizational effectiveness, the following changes have been implemented:
Flattening management: Managers will have increased accountability, responsibility and more direct-reports Empowering staff: With fewer layers of management, the work of our highly-skilled employees will be more efficient and productivity will increase Stabilizing our workforce: Most acting positions have been confirmed and temporary positions have been reduced Consolidating service areas: Departments have aligned their structures and grouped similar service areas to better support the public Streamlining administration: A Business Support Services (BSS) branch has been created in each department which will serve as the strategic and administrative hub of the organization Delivering services within the Council-established tax target: The corporate efficiency target of $14 million has been realized, addressing the targets in this budget year for both 2017 and 2018
As part of the implementation of the departmental transition plans, 75 managers have departed from the organization and 102 unionized employees in administrative positions have been given notice, allowing them to exercise their collective agreement rights; some may depart while others will find placements through the collective agreement process. Overall this new model will impact approximately 1,400 employees – some who will have new roles, some will have changes to their role and some will have new reporting relationships.
Next Steps – Stabilizing our Organization
Like many of you, I have been through a number of reorganizations. I have told the senior leadership team that it will take time for our organization to settle into a new rhythm. For many of you, these changes may have noticeable impacts.
At the outset, we must be mindful of our colleagues and friends who are leaving the organization. We are grateful to each one of them for their important contributions to the City. Their work is valued and the professional and personal relationships we have made will be long-lasting. These were difficult decisions to make, but our operating model is changing and so must our workforce.
As an organization, it is important for us to acknowledge the feelings that change creates. As the impacts sink in, your management team and I are here to support you, as are the many other resources the City has in place.
During the weeks and months ahead you will begin to see concrete signs of our new vision and culture. Whether it’s how we build new relationships with Council, the prioritization of succession planning and leadership development or the introduction of new business practices and technology, I am going to work on your behalf to make sure the path forward will be exciting and rewarding. It may take some time to find our feet, but the period of instability is over. As public servants, we must continue to provide high-quality services to our elected officials and members of the public and keep our momentum leading into the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017. It is to be expected that as we settle into our new way of working there will be some bumps. Please be patient and support each other through this process.
Now we can direct our energy away from uncertainty and move towards the vision of becoming One City, One Team. I value enormously the conversations I have had with staff as I move about the organization. Over the coming months, I will continue to introduce new ways for us to connect so that we can keep the conversation going.
Thank you for your continued patience, support and for the enthusiasm you show for the work you do. I have every confidence in your resiliency and your ability to work with this new structure to contribute to the delivery of exceptional service to our residents.
Sincerely, Steve Kanellakos