South Stormont to add employees for retirement planning

South Stormont council votes on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 on a municipal hiring plan to cover future retirements over the next five years. The township will spend just an additional $338,000 over the next two years on employees. (South Stormont via Newswatch Group)

LONG SAULT – South Stormont plans to spend $338,000 over the next two years on various sorts of employee hires as part of succession planning.

The bulk of the hiring will happen this fall and next year with a new deputy chief building official, a deputy director of public works, a parks and recreation administrative assistant and an asset-facilities coordinator. A part-time recreation facilities operator will move to full-time under the plan.

“Very few new positions at this point, the majority are transitional and temporary in terms of our ability to have individuals in place and ready to go when the retirements that we are aware of…are ready to go,” CAO Debi LucasSwitzer told council Wednesday (Sept. 22).

The plan will see an additional $184,515 spent next year and a further $153,920 in 2023 on staffing.

With a third of the township’s workforce eligible to retire in the next five years, LucasSwitzer believes the “corporate succession planning policy” will accomplish two things. It will create a more seamless transition, not leaving key management positions vacant, and it will also identify employees that are “potential successors for those roles” who will “see career advancement opportunity.”

She told council it will also ensure the township can address development growth demands and meet provincially-mandated timelines for work to be completed.

“That process, coupled with our recruitment process and the other human resources policies will place us, we hope, in a very strong position in order to be able to ensure we have the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary for this organization to continue to grow and succeed in the ways that we have in the past,” LucasSwitzer said.

As for the asset-facilities coordinator, she says the township has “absolutely no plan” and “no one responsible for” managing $90 million in assets like buildings, noting that it’s “handled off the corners of desks” of three managers and herself.

Mayor Bryan McGillis called the plan “the best thing in terms of succession and retention. I feel confident this will help make things a lot more smoother for us in the future.”

Coun. Andrew Guindon noted that council has been “apprehensive at times” about adding positions but says staff have provided detailed costing and it “makes our decision a lot easier to move forward.”

Council unanimously passed the plan.