Mayor Milsom

The City of West Kelowna's plan to hire 12 new employees should be put on hold, Mayor Gord Milsom will suggest at Tuesday's council meeting.

West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom is asking city council to reconsider all the new municipal positions approved during last month's budget deliberations.

All the full-time equivalent staffing positions approved but not filled in 2020, and those given the green light for 2021, should be put on hold, Milsom says.

Under the Community Charter, a mayor can ask for a reconsideration of any matter at the same meeting, or within 30 days of that meeting.

The other councillors do not have to agree to the reconsideration, but there would be a vote again on the question of whether to approve the previous plan to hire new staff.

Milsom's suggestion is that council direct municipal managers to bring back a revised staffing plan at the Jan. 19 meeting.

In December, city council gave preliminary approval to a 2021 budget that calls for $767,543 in funding for new full-time equivalent positions.

Eight new positions were proposed: bylaw officer ($109,000); engineering tech, ($90,000); police services assistant ($82,000); relief mechanic ($65,000); intermediate accounting clerk ($85,000); communications advisor ($109,000); part-time human resources assistant ($34,000); RCMP officer ($153,000).

All of these positions were to be funded by taxation.

As well, when council pared back the 2020 municipal tax because of COVID-19, $344,370 that had been budgeted for new-hires was put on hold and the positions were not filled.

These positions included a parks maintenance operator ($82,000); a lawnmowing crew ($28,000); GIS co-ordinator ($105,000); and roads and drainage foreman ($105,000).

in mid-2020, documents presented to council showed the City of West Kelowna had 259 full-time employees. Ninety-eight of them made more than $75,000 the previous year.

On its website, the City of West Kelowna touts these kinds of advantages in working for the municipality: "Forget the long commute. Kayak or walk on the waterfront at sunrise, put in an honest day's work, and still have plenty of time for a bike ride or round of golf before sunset. . . We know a few people who commute from the campground, put in a full shift, and are back at the RV barbecuing burgers by the beach at half past five!"