Photo: Staff of Castanet
Trustees voted to add a new executive position in the Finance Department of the Regional District of Thompson-Nicola.
Amanda Ellison, TNRD’s managing director of people and engagement, presented to the board on Thursday, saying the request stemmed from recent discussions about departmental structure and capacity.
“The finance department supports many key strategic priorities and initiatives in TNRD, and much of that has grown over the past few years,” Ellison said.
“We see the finance department continuing to strain its current capacity, and it has a lot of work ahead of it to do strategic work, process improvement work, public engagement work, as well as some of the work related to the forensic check.
Ellison said the finance department received funding for an entry-level support position in the fall, which eased pressure on support staff.
“We continue to believe it is a priority to be able to strengthen our leadership team to help with some of the key strategic policy and process improvement work, which will enable the team to better meet the increasing demands for its work,” Ellison said. .
A staff report to the board indicates that the person in this position will assist the CFO with administrative requirements and work to implement process improvements within the department.
The report says the growth of TNRD services has strained the capacity of the finance team.
In addition, the report indicates that 37 of the 65 recommendations made in BDO Canada’s forensic audit will require the work of the finance department.
According to the TNRD, the position will cost between $123,000 and $134,000 per year. The money can be taken from the provident funds in 2022, but staff said that in future years funding will come from increased property taxes.
“Based on the current 2022 tax base, this equates to approximately $1.57 in additional tax per residential property,” the staff report says.
Kathy Sinclair, director of TNRD and a Kamloops city councillor, said she was confident there was a lot of action stemming from the forensic audit. She asks if staff have researched the structure of other Regional Districts.
Sinclair also asked staff if the district had considered whether the forensic audit recommendations could be short-term actions and not long-term ones.
“I’m struggling with this, just because it’s a new creation that will eventually be covered by taxes, and because of recent events, I just don’t know the time is right,” Sinclair said.
Ellison said staff had searched other regional districts.
She said the position was important to fill.
“Given succession planning, this position becomes critical to the sustainability of our organization,” Ellison said.
“I think that goes to some of your second questions, Dir. Sinclair, around the short term, the long term. That might be something that we continue to assess in terms of the structure of the department.
General Manager Scott Hildebrand said succession planning was the most important reason they were considering adding another management position.
“We only have one manager in the finance department who is Doug [Rae]. I can tell you he’s overworked and overloaded with some of the workload that’s presented to him and that’s something we’ve been looking at for some time,” Hildebrand said.
The board of directors voted almost unanimously to approve the new position. Sinclair opposed it.