SD&G will hire $150K director of IT

A laptop connects to Wi-Fi at the United Counties building on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. The county has given the go-ahead to hire a Director of IT Services - a $150,000 position. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

SD&G – County council has given the go-ahead, in a 7-4 vote, to start the process of hiring a director of information technology (IT) – a position that will undoubtedly end up on the Sunshine List.

But some councillors during Monday’s county council meeting weren’t comfortable with the prospect a Director of IT Services would be pulling down a salary that rivaled township chief administrative officers (CAOs).

“I think it’s too large a chunk for us at this point,” Coun. Jamie MacDonald said. “I just don’t see us at this point moving this direction right away. I think we are going right to the high level. I think this is too large a chunk.”

Coun. Bill McGimpsey says there’s a lot of duties on the list for just one position. “There’s work for 10 people. I think looking at getting submissions from other companies to say come down a bolt down your network.”

While he valued the position, Coun. Eric Duncan was bothered by the salary. “That salary is equitable to our local CAOs. I just find that crazy. Is this position, in terms of the education, the expertise and the skills that are required…is it comparable exactly to a local CAO working in this. I don’t think that it is,” Duncan said.

CAO Tim Simpson noted that adding the director would only add around $50,000 as a cost to the county as it’s already paying around $100,000 in salaries and benefits to manage technology right now.

“Quite frankly we have under sourced our IT department for years,” Simpson said.

Coun. Ian McLeod agreed with Simpson on the director position, noting this position will be utilized by the six lower-tier municipalities as well.

While not agreeing with the proposal, Coun. Tammy Hart added that she was concerned the department would be asking for more down the road. (This sentence has been corrected from an earlier version suggesting she had agreed with the proposal. Hart was one of four councillors to vote no.)

Simpson said “the first step” was to get the head of IT in there. “Does that necessarily mean more resources? It might, it might not.”

Coun. Evonne Delegarde said it’s expertise that “you’re going to have to pay for.”

Warden Jim Bancroft added that the county has tried unsuccessfully to outsource services before plus the county should act after spending money on the consultant’s report.

The move to add a director of IT came after a $43,000 consultant’s report showed a litany of problems with the technology within SD&G.

The cost of the IT director will be $120,000 in wages plus $30,000 in benefits. Eliminating the network administrator position will delete $108,385 off the corporate books.

The county would like to fill the position by February 2018.