Senior staff cuts at Ottawa City Hall slice number of departments in half

New Ottawa city manager Steve Kanellakos has announced a new plan to save $2.7 million for taxpayers by cutting management jobs at city hall.

Mr. Kanellakos said he has been working on a plan to reduce management jobs since he started the position in May. Since then he has surveyed over 3,600 staff, looking for suggestions to improve the organization.

The number one concern, according to Mr. Kanellakos, was the organization’s complex structure, which he described as “unsustainable” and bogged down by too many processes and levels of approval.

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“Staff want to feel empowered to make decisions with support of their leaders. They want to get decisions without having to go through so many layers,” said Mr. Kanellakos after presenting the plan to council on Wednesday.

As a result 12 management positions have been cut, reducing the senior leadership team from 21 people down to nine. The new management structure is more streamlined, with eight departments consolidated from a of related former departments.

The cumulative savings from the cost will be $2.7 million over the council term. The cost of severance packages for the city is calculated at $1.29 million, which will come from the city’s reserves.

Mr. Kanellakos suggested the team will be looking at more savings and further consolidation in the future.

“They make sense, they increase efficiency and they cut down on some of the frustrations that the public has dealing with the city in terms of silos,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

Mr. Watson said the city changes every four years because of elections and it’s not the first time the organization has seen a major restructuring.

“We have a new city manager who wants to put his imprint on the organization and he’s done that today,” he said.

John Manconi will remain head of the transportation committee, Kevin Wylie will cover public works and environmental, Janice Burelle will head community and social services, Dan Chenier will cover parks, recreation and cultural services and Sue Jones will head emergency and protective services.

Marian Simulik will cover service, innovation and performance, which includes information technology and finance. Donna Gray will become head of service, innovation and performance – a consolidation of a number of departments including corporate communications and human resources.

General manager of planning remains vacant for the time being with John Moser as interim acting general manager.

This article originally appeared on on July 13.

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