Guelph continues overhauling overtime system

Guelph, ON, February 20, 2014 – On Thursday, March 6, the City’s Audit Committee will learn how the City is already improving overtime practices, and how it will continue overhauling its overtime system by the end of the year.

Last fall, the City asked its internal auditor to review and recommend improvements to its overtime practices. The auditor noted some departments manage overtime very well, while others needed to improve transparency and accountability. At the time, it was estimated that the City can potentially save up to $3 million in overtime costs using a more consistent, city-wide approach to overtime.

“Many of us were surprised by what we learned, and that’s what audits are for; they show us the problems so we can find solutions,” said Derrick Thomson. “Over the past 90 days, we pulled together a team that’s already addressed 12 of the 39 recommendations made in the audit. That’s great progress so far, and we’ll continue reporting on our accomplishments over the rest of the year.”

A report being presented to the Audit Committee shows how the City’s Executive Team now has more oversight, and only approves overtime if staff are required to respond to public safety issues or weather events;  meet legislative or regulatory requirements; perform functions which generate revenue; fill in for absent staff ; or are directed by management.

By the end of the year, the City’s Overtime Task Force, working with its union leadership and employees from across the organization, will address all remaining recommendations included in the Overtime Audit including a corporate overtime policy, and zero-based budgeting for overtime in 2015.

“We appreciate the critical role our unions have to play in the process, and we look forward to discussing their concerns and working together to increase fairness, consistency, transparency and accountability in the City’s use of overtime,” added Thomson.

The report also shows how inter-departmental working groups will focus on three key areas to complete the City’s overtime overhaul:

  • Management policies – 24 audit recommendations related to developing city-wide policies and practices.
  • Financial practices – 15 audit recommendations including better measurement and reporting of overtime this year, and using that information to develop a business case reflecting any revenue that may offset overtime costs, and potential cost savings. The proposed 2015 overtime budget will be reduced to zero, and the business case will be used to recommend more realistic overtime budget for the year.
  • Guelph Transit Plan – as recommended by the internal auditor, the uniqueness of the service, collective agreements, and concerns about staffing levels and attendance require different consideration, as reflected in a related initiative called Recasting Guelph Transit.

Overall, the City’s financial position is not only strong, it’s getting stronger, and initiatives like the Overtime Audit will continue enhancing Guelph’s financial performance.

For more information

Derrick Thomson, Executive Director
Community and Social Services
519-519-822-1260 extension 2665

Overtime Audit Implementation Plan and related documents