Edmonton Minute: Bureaucracy Shuffle, Overtime Audit, and More LRT Delays
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- There is only one meeting at City Hall this week. On Tuesday, at 9:30 am, City Council will meet. If business is not concluded, additional time has been scheduled on Wednesday at 9:30 am. The agenda includes an update on the Transit Safety Plan, an update on the Rapid Housing Initiative, stakeholder engagements regarding indoor shisha consumption, and a number of private reports, including one on police funding, the final report from the Councillor’s Budget Review Task Force, and a Valley Line Contractual Update, among others.
The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival begins on Friday and runs through to July 16th. A detailed schedule is available online. Most kids' activities take place from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm and the festival is free to attend, although the performers always appreciate tips. There are too many performances to list, but they include juggling and fire breathing!
- The Edmonton Jerk Festival is on at Queen Mary Park on July 8th. The festival of Caribbean and Jamaican-style food, drinks, and entertainment is family-friendly and free to attend. It runs from noon to 9:00 pm. In addition to all the delicious food, there will be a number of bands performing, including the Trinican Steel Orchestra, Lakota Tootoosis, and Saint and the Full 100 Band.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- An audit on overtime at the City was released, and in 2022 the City spent $39 million on overtime pay - a 75% increase in the amount of overtime costs compared with 2018. The report notes that supervisors did not understand how to effectively manage employee overtime. The audit also released the top 20 overtime earners by hours worked - several of the workers on the list have been in the top 20 for multiple years.
- City Administration announced a bureaucracy shuffle that cut several management positions and eliminated two departments. City Manager Andre Courbould said that this was part of Administration's commitment to deliver $60 million in savings, as per Council’s request last year. However, buried in this news was more foolish spending, such as hiring a Chief Climate Officer. The Fire Department also announced that it would be eliminating two vacant Deputy Chief positions, but these would be replaced by six new Assistant Deputy Chiefs.
- It was reported that Edmonton’s troubled Southeast Valley Line LRT needs to replace 140 kilometers of cable before it opens. The Line was scheduled to open in December of 2020, but numerous problems and delays have pushed back opening day. The latest problems had been vehicles colliding with the trains during testing, and cracking concrete pillars - the latter of which is now rectified. But now, the existing cables were found to be oxidized, which would reduce the reliability of the train. The cables will be replaced over July and August, and no opening date has been announced.
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