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Vacancies and Staff Actions Report is only a Report-by-Half — there's a lot missing

The detailed breakdown of front-line and management positions and a thorough description of the impact are both missing.

Dear Councillor Di Giorgio and Members of the Budget Committee:

RE:     BU44.2 – Vacancies and Staff Actions

On behalf of CUPE Local 79 members, who deliver hundreds of front-line services across the City, and on behalf of the more than 2,500 people who would like to fill existing vacant positions, I would like to comment on the City Manager’s Report on Vacancies and Staff Actions.

There certainly is no shortage of people wanting to work for the City. The Staff Report indicates that there were “over 110,000 applications to specific job competitions in the first seven months of 2013”.

The Vacancies and Staff Actions Report is only a Report-By-Half – there’s a lot missing here. At the September Budget Committee meeting Councillors were asking for a Report that sets out the number of vacancies and gapped positions by Division with clear numbers to indicate which unfilled positions were front-line staff and which positions were management.

The Service Level Reviews at the September Government Management Committee led to a motion, “that the Government Management Committee request the City Manager to report to the Government Management Committee on the impact that the delays in filling staff positions have had on the divisions reporting to the Government Management Committee”.

The detailed breakdown of front-line and management positions and a thorough description of the impact are both missing.

There is a good deal of information about gapping levels, the various factors that cause staff vacancies, and the reported impediments to filling vacancies, but not a lot of information about how service levels are reduced by this practice.

The Hiring Process Challenges cited in the Staff Report point to our Collective Agreements as being an obstacle in the hiring process. The Collective Agreements provide a fair and objective process, and do not contain impediments to timely hiring and promotions. Local 79 is on record as being willing to sit down and discuss the means by which to fill vacancies in a shorter time frame, while remaining consistent with the Collective Agreements.

The number of vacant positions and the number of recruitment requisitions suggest that vacancies are about sacrificing service levels to budgetary pressures.

For example, to date in 2013 in Children’s Services there are 214 vacancies and only 20 requisitions – a 90.7% rate of unrequisitioned positions. 

In 311 Toronto there are 29 vacancies and 7 requisitions – a 75.9% rate of unrequisitioned positions.

Not filling positions seems to be a choice being made by Divisions because of Budget pressures.

CUPE Local 79 would recommend that the Budget Committee request the City Manager provide the other half of this Report, giving a detailed breakdown of the vacancies and the actual impact this has on services to Toronto’s communities.

Yours truly,

Tim Maguire, President

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