The municipality of Summerland has cut roughly one-quarter of its staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cuts and a restructuring at the municipality were announced on the evening of April 16.
“We have an incredibly talented and dedicated team at the district and while these decisions are extremely difficult to make, our revised organization structure focuses on a financially sustainable future,” said Anthony Haddad, Summerland’s chief administrative officer.
Management exempt and union staffing levels were affected by the cuts, as 28 permanent full-time and part-time positions were cut.
Three full-time management employee positions were cut permanently. The positions were the director of development services, the manager of legislative services and the community development coordinator.
Temporary cuts were made to 11 permanent part-time employees at the Summerland Aquatic Centre and 12 full-time employees throughout the municipality.
In addition, two new positions which had been approved in the 2020 municipal budget will not be filled.
Prior to the cuts, Summerland had 109 people on staff.
Summerland mayor Toni Boot said the majority of the cuts are short-term, with the hope of bringing back the staff members once business can return to normal.
“Like any business, the district of Summerland’s operations and organizational structure rely on revenues from our customers — business licences, development fees, utility payments, property taxes, user fees and much more,” Boot said. “The global COVID-19 crisis will have a significant impact on the district’s operations and our community, resulting in the need to reduce costs to meet revised revenue projections. In addition to the organizational changes, senior management has identified reductions in capital projects. Council plans to use the resulting surplus to reduce the financial burden being experienced by Summerland residents and businesses.”
However, the three management positions will not be filled, Haddad said. He explained that the staff cuts are part of a longer term restructuring.
In March, the Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre and the Summerland Arena were closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the municipal buildings are closed to the public at present, although staff are still working during this time.
The municipality will retain its essential services and operations. In addition, there are adjustments to is service levels, prioritizing fire response, emergency management and water, wastewater and electrical utilities.
Parks, infrastructure and facility maintenance will see service level changes.
“We are projecting revenues and expenses and service levels until the end of summer to allow us to develop plans moving forward,” said Haddad, “The world has changed quite quickly over the past month and will continue to change. Our organization needs to adapt to these changes, responding to the needs of our community.”
The municipality is also working to identify how to support the community in the eventual recovery phase.
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