Guelph’s CAO calls for overhaul of overtime system to make City more efficient
Guelph, ON, November 12, 2013 – Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer has come out with a hard-hitting report in response to findings in an internal audit report about the City’s overtime practices. That report, along with the overtime audit and City management’s full response, was sent to Councillors this afternoon in advance of next Tuesday’s Audit Committee meeting.
The audit—which was called for by the City’s Audit Committee and fully endorsed by management—finds that while some City departments manage overtime well, it is inconsistently administered in others. It also finds transparent reporting of overtime is lacking, and that employee behaviour with regard to overtime is—in some cases—inconsistent with corporate values.
The CAO is calling for an overhaul of the City’s overtime system, and for action in the following areas:
- Zero-based overtime budgeting
- A corporate-wide overtime policy
- Consistency in practices across employee groups
- Improving business models and alignment of information systems
- Management leading with accountability and clear direction
In total, the Internal Auditor’s report puts forth 39 recommendations that cover policy, systems and processes, corporate culture and leadership. The organization’s leadership supports each of those recommendations and is already putting measures in place to change overtime practices including implementation of a moratorium on overtime and the accrual of lieu time. Further, at the direction of the CAO, the City’s executive team is undertaking targeted work in the next 90 days to address the findings.
“This audit signals the degree to which the City’s leadership is committed to improvement and transparency,” says CAO Ann Pappert. “By many accounts, overtime audits are among the toughest for cities. We’re one of only two municipalities we know of to call for a comprehensive overtime audit. There’s work to be done and change needs to occur. But I’m proud of this administration for having the courage to proactively address areas where improvement is possible.”
The CAO will meet with the City’s union leadership this afternoon to discuss management’s response to the audit findings. The City plans to involve union leadership in actions related to labour-related recommendations around the shared goal of increasing fairness, consistency, transparency and accountability in the use of overtime.
In her report, Pappert goes on to explain the City could save as much as $3 million by administering overtime differently, subject to the financial costs of acting on the recommendations of the overtime audit. She cautions however that until the City implements a zero-based overtime budget, it can’t know true overtime budget requirements.
She is also clear that the use of overtime has its place. “Overtime is a fundamental means to manage fluctuations in workload and staff resources. Its application and administration however needs to be responsible and transparent.”
Both reports will be presented at the November 19 meeting of the Audit Committee.
For more information
Chief Administrative Officer
519-82-1260 extension 2220