His predecessor paved the road to better management-staff relations and a willingness to make changes and improvements at City Hall.
Now chief administrative officer David Trawin is taking the cultural changes that Randy Diehl started and moving them to the next level.
Diehl built trust between the unions and City management, trying to change the us-and-them mentality that had previously existed. He extended that outside of City Hall to organizations such as the Canadian Home Builders Association — Central Interior and Thompson Rivers University.
“He set the pillars in place for me to look at procedures, connections with staff, etc.,” Trawin said.
His priorities are threefold: financial control, organizational structure and accountability.
Financial control was a priority when he applied for the City’s top job. That involved reviewing purchasing methods and looking at staffing and reorganizing.
Already those changes are expected to save five per cent — $1.9 million — over two years.
A recent report that looked at City of Kamloops staffing noted there are more staff here than in comparable cities, but operating costs are lower.
Trawin said that’s because those staff do more in-house work than other municipalities do, which saves money on contracting out.
“I’m not looking at cutting staff just to meet the peer average if it raises costs,” he said.
Another reason for the higher staffing numbers is because Kamloops has facilities such as the Tournament Capital Centre, which other cities are lacking, he said.
Less than a year into his new job and he has done some reorganizing, such as putting facility maintenance all under the parks, recreation and culture department because it has the most janitorial staff and could be better co-ordinated.
It used to be under utilities as well, but it has made more sense and saved some money having it all in one department portfolio, he said.
Two vacant middle-management positions haven’t been filled yet and might not be, depending on need and rejigging of other employees, he said.
Staff members hold post-mortem meetings at the completion of capital projects to look at better tendering practices, timing and other factors that could save money.
Accountability is about improving public engagement, going to the people instead of waiting for them to come to the City, Trawin said.
He used to meet regularly with homebuilders and other groups who dealt with him as director of development and engineering services.
Now he is beholden to all Kamloops taxpayers. But he’s also aware of that and wants to open those doors of communication wider.
“The foundation’s there to move forward,” he said.