On April 9th, County of Prince Edward CAO Marcia Wallace announced structural changes to to the organizational structure of local government, making good on her promise from several months ago the municipality could expect change in the foreseeable future.
“We are focused on improving the services we deliver to residents, businesses, and visitors. Revising our structure will help us achieve that priority by ensuring there’s a fair and equitable distribution of responsibilities and functions across all departments,” said Wallace.
The changes are varied and include:
The Department of Community Services, Programs, and Initiatives will oversee economic development, communications, public consultation, grants, programs, and special projects across the corporation. The previous interim director of Community Development and Strategic Initiatives,Todd Davis, has been appointed to lead the new department on a full-time basis.
The Department of Recreation and Community Facilities will be responsible for arenas, ball diamonds, other recreation facilities, and museums. Lisa Lindsay, previously the Manager of Community Centres and Events Marketing, has been appointed director of the department.
Also, within the Operations Department, two new positions will report to the director:
A Manager of Infrastructure will oversee roads and construction. The County will hire for that position.
An Environmental Services and Sustainability Supervisor will be responsible for waste management and maintenance of parks and trails. Tanya Delaney, the current Outdoor Facilities Supervisor, has been appointed to the new position.
As well, a Manager of Engineering position has been created in the Development Services Department. This role will be responsible for overseeing engineering and damage prevention services.
Wallace explained that the new structural organization was created with an eye to improving service delivery, while maximizing communication and dialogue across departments. This is a plan that she describes has having been “in the works for some time.”
“Planning for the reorganization has been in the works for some time. Even as we respond to the current health crisis impacting our community, the municipality must continue to operate and deliver a wide range of services to residents and businesses. Moving forward with these changes sets up all departments for success now and in the future,” said Wallace.
When she arrived on the scene as CAO several months ago, Wallace noted, she was able to see the organization with fresh eyes.
“When I came in as CAO in December, I looked at the organization…. with fresh eyes, trying to look at ways we can improve what we do and how we deliver services. There were some legacies from previous organizational changes,” explained Wallace. “For example, Robert MaCaulay was the last commissioner role we had in a form in the organization. There were some vacant director positions that had never been filled and there were others that had people acting in them. It wasn’t a permanent setup and we clearly needed some changes.”
The changes were calculated based on Wallace’s observations as to staff strengths and the service expectations of residents, businesses and council.
“The changes here, I don’t see as large but they focus on maximizing service delivery and increasing communication and dialogue across departments so we work better as a team. These were long in the making and based on what I’ve learned in the three or so months I’ve had this role,” Wallace stated.
The organizational changes should improve the delivery of services by streamlining functions and learning from the past to increase efficiencies.
“The reorganized structure does a couple of things. It realigns functions so that similar types of functions are together. That allows for some efficiencies and lessons learned We had things that required similar skills or resources but were spread across several departments so you don’t have a consistent approach to how things get delivered. It also allowed us to look at the span of control We had some management roles that had a lot of people reporting and some very little. As a result, there were back logs and difficulty getting things done in an efficient and quick manner,” said Wallace.
The CAO concedes she struggled with the best time to implement changes, but settled on sooner than later so that the municipality will be best equipped for the new normal we find ourselves in due to COVID-19.
“In the end, we’re quickly moving into a new normal with regards to our way of operating. We all know this isn’t going to be weeks but months,” said Wallace. “ We’re all putting in efforts to support the County in recovery for the longer term both for businesses and residents.”
Wallace added that the decision to make the changes was done in discussion with Mayor Steve Ferguson and with the full awareness of council.
“This is maybe not the best time, but there’s no reason to delay. The County running efficiently and effectively will put us in good speed for the next couple of months,” said Wallace.