City stays quiet about staff savings

City stays quiet about staff savings

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The City of Canning has dodged questions over staffing levels, despite budget figures boasting “significant savings” in employee costs.

In the unconfirmed minutes of the city’s Audit and Risk committee’s report on the annual report and financial statements, the city’s operating expenditure was reported as $115 ,651, 1183 – down from the budgeted cost of $115, 975, 176.

The report said the positive variance was mainly attributable to “Significant savings in employee cost on account of vacant positions across several business units, training cost and long service leave.”

In the city’s annual report, which is due to be adopted by council on Tuesday night, the financial statements confirm that while the city’s budget for employee costs was $57,757,158, the actual costs were $56,192,670 – a saving of around $1.5 million.

Examiner Newspapers sent questions to the City, asking how many Full Time Employee, or equivalent positions, were vacant for any time during the financial year, the average length of these vacancies, how many positions remain vacant, the number of redundancies issued and the highest paid position, aside from the Chief Executive, that was vacant for any period of time.

The city simply deflected the questions.

In a statement that did not provide any figures, acting Chief Executive Sarah McQuade said “The 2020/2021 financial year was heavily influenced by the city’s support of the community throughout COVID and the need for the city to respond to lockdowns, restricted capacity limits etc,”

“The city made use of a different mix of labour sources to deliver shifting priorities and to maintain services albeit in some instances delivered differently.

“This, coupled with the usual movement of staff, a focus on reducing leave balances held by employees and limited access to training due to COVID restrictions has seen expenditure at lower than budgeted levels.”

The annual report also confirmed there are 65 employees in the City of Canning earning more than $130,000 per year – just over 11 per cent of the city’s 564-strong workforce – down from 570 in 2019/20,