Proposed hiring freeze shot down

Campbell River city council rejects councillor's cost saving idea

Coun. Ziggy Stewart tried twice to save money by altering the city’s hiring process but both attempts were shot down by council Tuesday night.Stewart wanted to implement an immediate hiring freeze at City Hall as well as have all positions brought before council for discussion.“This city obviously has financial restraints,” said Stewart. “How can we justify spending more money on hiring new people?”The freeze would have affected all city jobs, including those posted in January.Stewart’s original motion, which included the hiring freeze and a request that all job postings be brought before council, was defeated. But he tried again, with a motion that left out the hiring freeze. Stewart wanted all future job postings to first go before council to discuss why they would, or would not, be needed. He added it was also a way of communicating to the public how council is spending city dollars.“It would be a good communication tool with the public and it would show we’re paying attention to the in-house hiring practices of staff and management,” said Stewart. “It’s important that when we’re posting a job opening and putting it in the paper that people understand the monetary situation at the city.”Coun. Claire Moglove understood where Stewart was coming from but could not support the motion.“It’s one thing to eliminate positions or reduce the service level but it’s another kettle of fish all together to be hirers or not hirers of vacancies. I don’t think that’s council’s role,” said Moglove. “When people see postings in the paper they may think it’s a new position when, in fact, it’s a vacancy so I believe a communication tool is very important but this is not the way to do it.”Coun. Andy Adams suggested the city revive the old “What’s Up Doc,” a document that answered questions from the public and kept the community informed of ongoing issues.ONLINE UPDATE: Stewart’s second motion was defeated with Mayor Charlie Cornfield and Councillors Ryan Mennie, Claire Moglove and Roy Grant opposed. Councillors Mary Storrie and Andy Adams voted in favour. It was erroneously reported in a previous version that Coun. Adams was opposed to Stewart’s second motion, the Mirror apologizes for the mistake.