North Cowichan plans to hire four new staff members in 2018, with total expenditures to the municipality of $269,000.
At a special council meeting regarding next year’s budget on Dec. 18, council decided to hire a technical services specialist ($82,000), a community planner ($93,200), a planner ($46,600), and a human resources generalist ($46,600).
Both the planner and the human resources generalist positions are considered half-year hires in 2018.
The new positions were recommended as a result of lengthy analysis of the municipality’s current staffing resources and greatest areas of need, according to a staff report.
“Portions of the positions will be funded through savings realized by two vacant management positions over 2017,” said the report.
Mayor Jon Lefebure said he realizes there are some concerns in the public about hiring new staff, but the need for additional employees reflects the increasing amount of work current staff have to contend with.
“North Cowichan is known as a lean and mean municipality and we are on the low end of the scale for the size of our staff and the amount of work they do compared to the size of our population.”
Lefebure said a technical services specialist is required because North Cowichan’s information services department is facing growing pressure to protect against evolving cyber-security threats and maintaining the municipality’s server and network infrastructure as more municipal services are being managed digitally.
He said the human resources department has been operating at minimal capacity for numerous years as well, and is facing increasing demand for services due to external pressures, including expanding legal and regulatory requirements.