City of Cornwall adding 12 full-time positions

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – In a time where people are losing jobs and struggling during the pandemic, the City of Cornwall is adding a dozen full-time positions to its payroll.

At the same time, the city is removing about 22,000 part-time hours. Boosting full-time positions from 535 to 547 received a lot of scrutiny during Monday’s budget meeting. The city had 528 full-timers in 2018 and 2019, then 535 in 2020.

Coun. Dean Hollingsworth asked if there was in fact 12 more employees within the corporation.

“In relation to last year, we have 12 more full-time employees. Some of those changes happened during 2020. Some positions are vacant right now but they will be filled in 2021,” CFO Tracey Bailey answered.

On that same day, the City of Cornwall posted a $76,000 project supervisor position on the job site Indeed.

But administration skirted a question from Hollingsworth on whether the shakeout will actually cost the municipality more money this year, outside of mandated increases in collective agreements.

Instead, CAO Maureen Adams seemed to justify the full-time hires, saying it would offer “stability” to some positions where it’s been hard to keep part-time staff.

Hollingsworth repeated the question: “I understand the reasons for it, but it does cost us more money, correct?”

“No, not necessarily because again it kind of depends on the employee group. If you wanted us to break it down but some groups are paid an amount as a part-time employee in lieu of benefits,” Adams answered.

Hollingsworth was never given a concrete dollar figure.

Coun. Claude McIntosh also questioned why the city was replacing three contract positions at the landfill with three full-time employees.

With a limited amount of space left in the landfill, Infrastructure Acting General General Bill de Wit said they needed somebody with more accountability in place to “ensure that revenues were properly documented, weights were properly documented and that we have proper oversight with regard to the waste coming into the landfill site.”

“The contractor at the time, for lack of a better description, were not really following labour laws,” de Wit said, suggesting one contractor was working 55 hours a week.

“I’m struggling with this one, why we had to bring in three full-time city employees to replace three full-time contract positions,” McIntosh mused.

The budget meeting continues today (Feb. 2) at 2:30 p.m.