CAO Shannon Hunter said multiple township departments are “extremely busy” entering the summer season without a full roster.
At a May 10 council meeting, she said the finance department, for instance, is “working really hard with shortages we do have in the department. We have been trying to recruit positions.”
Highlands East has hired an accounts payable clerk, but is still seeking summer students, a tax collector, an environmental supervisor and a chief building official.
Hunter says that has stretched staffing capacity at the township to its limits.
“Our staff really stepped up and have been doing everything they possibly can to make sure we’re meeting our service requirements,” she said.
Bylaw enforcement officer Wayne Galloway said the best way for council to help his department wade through its backlog of infraction files is to hire two new bylaw officers.
“I’ve only got two hands and two feet,” he said.
Disconnecting from work policy
Highlands East has formalized a policy exempting staff from working unpaid overtime during weekends, holidays or sick days.
It’s now a legislative requirement for any employer with 25 or more employees to have a “right to disconnect” policy.
Hunter said it’s “to ensure employers and employees know what their obligations are.”
Deputy mayor Cec Ryall said “we are really short-staffed … how is this going to affect the more urgent issues we have to deal with?”
Hunter said, “it’s not going to impede what’s happening,” adding that positions that are required to work overtime, such as road crews, are compensated for their extra time on the job.
Information related to the new work policy will be circulated to staff, and details on the provincial legislation can be found at ontario.ca