Turnovers leave &#39c;ouncil; pondering municipal 'reorganization;

Iqaluit plugs along despite loss of key staff


A rash of high-level resignations has the City of Iqaluit mulling ways of keeping employees through training and a possible reorganization of departments, says Elisapee Sheutiapik, Iqaluit's mayor.

The city lost two department directors this summer. Geoff Baker, the former engineering director, took a job in Prince Edward Island and Mark Hall, the public works director, went on vacation in July and is apparently not coming back.

Sheutiapik said the city's human resources committee has decided to review the roles of city departments before hiring any new directors, since finding replacements during the summer has proven to be a challenge.

"It's not a good time to be recruiting… so we thought why don't we just wait and go through this whole evaluation process," she said.

Everything from salaries to the mandates of city departments are up for review. Sheutiapik said that should be done every five years and it's been "six or seven years" since the city last performed such a review.

The human resources committee will consider merging engineering and public works, two departments that already work together closely, the mayor said.

There's also talk of hiring Sheutiapik to fill the senior administrative officer's role, though Sheutiapik stressed that's because the committee has noticed want ads from southern municipalities that include a "mayor/SAO" in the contact information.

But it would also pay Sheutiapik a full-time salary. She and city staff have been pushing for the mayor's position to be made full time, though council voted down that notion in the spring.

Sheutiapik said the city might be able to retain more workers if it spent money "cross-training" employees to work in other city departments.

"If an employee shows interest in another department, why not allow them to dig a little deeper and learn a bit more about different departments?"

The city has also been without a senior administrative officer since January, when Clinton Mauthe resigned after less than six months on the job.

He took over in October 2006, ending another six-month vacancy that was created when former SAO Ian Fremantle left after three years on the job.

Finance director John Hussey has been filling in as the city's SAO.

"We have managed to plug along," Sheutiapik said.

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