A handful of new staffing positions will likely be coming to the Comox Valley Regional District later this year.
The CVRD presented a staffing update at its committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 20. The update highlighted a request for 5.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions to be added to the CVRD’s personnel in 2018. The new hires will be approved or disapproved by the end of March, when the regional district’s financial planning process comes to an end.
New full-time positions being requested include an asset management coordinator, a network manager, a communications coordinator, and a waste management attendant.
A full-time designation for the Hornby Island fire chief, a part-time facility maintenance worker, and a part-time student co-op position are also being requested, which factor into the 5.6 FTE.
According to Julie Bradley, the CVRD’s executive manager of human resources, the staffing increase would cost the regional district $380,847.
“In context, our total proposed budget is approximately $115,751,032 and this represents approximately a 3.1 per cent increase overall from last year,” she said. “The increase in personnel costs will be 0.33 per cent of the total budget.”
The regional district currently employs 225 staff members, 160 of whom are full-time workers (or 175.21 FTE).
The number is projected to reach 190 FTE by 2022, as new positions are added to work on infrastructure projects the CVRD is currently undertaking.
“The goal in local government is never to Empire-build,” said Bradley. “Nobody wants to become a huge operation unless there’s need. We’re establishing need and getting board approval for increased services.”
A large reason for the need for more staff, according to Bradley, is the increased number of services the CVRD offers. The number has increased from 92 to 102 services since 2012.
“This year, if you look at what’s going on, we have this big infrastructure growth in this area. Water, sewer, solid waste. So many [workers] are connected to the support of those services,” she said.
Two services were added in 2017 — fire services for Merville and Mount Washington.
The staffing update also mentioned the number of volunteer firefighters in the Comox Valley, of which there are 103.