LETHBRIDGE: A unanimous vote at city hall Monday cut six city jobs, in hopes of lessening pressure on the budget.
The unfilled positions are equivalent to five full-time jobs and were labelled less crucial to city operations than those remaining on a list of 22.5 unfilled 2011 positions placed on the chopping block in the last few weeks.
Council made the decision Monday after weighing the consequences of dropping each of the positions in question, including five new regional police officer positions, at a special meeting Monday, March 14.
Ald. Faron Ellis unsuccessfully lobbied to axe all 22.5 positions, referring them to upcoming budget deliberations. Instead, council narrowed its "cuts list" to the six positions deemed “lowest risk” to city operations if they stay unfilled.
Ald. Bridget Mearns has taken the lead on the file over several weeks. When reviewing background information and statistics comparing staffing rates and city growth over the year, she says she remains convinced that staffing is one of the biggest demands on the city's budget – one that leaves her questioning.
“The pace that we’ve been growing, is it appropriate? Is population growth rate an appropriate measure to guide ourselves from?” she says. “When you hear that city hall is bursting at the seams and it’s just 10 years after the building’s been built, it makes you ask those questions.”
She says she’ll pursue the issue in coming weeks during finance committee meetings and budget talks.