SDG Counties to hire eight full-time staff

CORNWALL – In an effort to retain seasonal winter staff, and complete summer projects, SDG Counties council approved a plan to add eight full-time staff to the Transportation Department.

The plan brought forth by Transportation Director Ben deHaan adds 1.3 full-time equivalent employees to each of the four patrol garages in SDG, 5.3 FTE total.

deHaan rationalized the hiring saying that instead of the Counties hiring seasonal winter staff for snow plow operators, they offer full-time positions instead.

“By enhancing the completement of staff we have year round, we can further support in the local municipalities without sacrificing the ability to do work too,” deHaan told Council at their August 28 meeting.

Beginning in 2017, SDG hired seven seasonal drivers for the winter, but recruitment in recent years has been challenging. deHaan attributed that to the seasonal nature of the work.

Last winter saw one of the seven season positions go unfilled, despite an expanded recruitment process.

He told Council Monday that having the positions be full time would allow for a different hiring process and attract more candidates.

Councillor Jason Broad (South Dundas) questioned the hiring out of the normal budget season for SDG, and how the new hires would benefit the Counties’ work with lower-tier municipalities.

deHaan responded that the budget impact is not immediate, as the hiring process would begin this fall when snow plow operators are normally recruited.

The budget impact is not immediate and the seasonal staff for winter is already accounted for. He added that work being completed in the summer by the new staff would result in a reduced surplus in the department every year.

deHaan explained that some of the surplus in Transportation budgets is attributed to planned work not being completed. With more staff, current staff would not have to be paid overtime to complete tasks, which also would help fund the full-time positions. He expanded on this responding to a question from Councillor Jamie MacDonald (North Glengarry). deHaan gave an example that road-side mowing is presently three-weeks behind schedule and that having the extra staff would enable tasks like this to be completed on time.

Councillor Marc St. Pierre (South Dundas) questioned the timing of the hires, wanting an overall study of service levels to be completed before more hiring takes place.

Other members of Counties Council supported the hiring of staff.

Councillor Martin Lang (South Glengarry) told Council he was a bit jealous of SDG for being able to hire eight full-time staff. “We’d get shot if we tried to hire five more people,” he joked. “We can’t do that.”

Councillor Lachlan McDonald said he supported the move because hiring supports existing level of service expectations.

Council voted unanimously in support of hiring the new staff. Recruitment for the new positions will begin this fall.

*Editor’s Note* This story was corrected from the print edition, which cut off a quotation from Ben deHaan.

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