Ponoka administration tasked with reducing overtime by 30%

Town council wants to see a major reduction in overtime costs for Ponoka

Town of Ponoka council wants to see major reductions in staff overtime costs.

Council made the motion to have administration provide a plan to reduce that overtime by 30 per cent on March 27 during the regular meeting. The request was made after about an hour or so meeting in camera.

Administration has until July to come up with a plan, made in consultation with staff, to meet the 30 per cent target and to report back quarterly.

Mayor Rick Bonnett said the decision was made in an effort to find efficiencies in town operations while understanding that sometimes overtime is unavoidable. “We know that we’re going to have some overtime regardless because we do have 24-hour services such as power, water and sewer.”

He said there’s not much room in the 2018 Ponoka budget, which was approved at the same meeting, for major overages. Bonnett says council is putting the onus on town managers to ensure goals are met.

This motion is also to ensure residents are still getting services, just more efficiently. He added that the town’s overtime isn’t “out of whack” but he feels staff should be doing everything they can to improve operations.

When asked if there’s any potential challenges with the town’s union, Bonnett said the plan is within the union agreement and feels it’s manageable.

“We just have to do a better job to work it,” said Bonnett, adding that the town’s right to manage union staff appropriately doesn’t go against the agreement.

More on the town’s budget to come in next week’s edition of Ponoka News.

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