Kincardine continues with contract position for Tiverton Arena manager
By Liz Dadson
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Kincardine council has rejected a proposal by its recreation department and decided to continue with a contract position for the Tiverton Arena manager's job.
In committee-of-the-whole last night (May 2), recreation director Karen Kieffer said the one-year agreement with the contractor, Debbie Simmons of Ev'Rose Layne, had expired and staff recommended that the municipality look after the staffing, management and operation of the Tiverton Sports Centre.
The operating budget for management services at the Tiverton Arena is $69,000, said Kieffer. By using municipal staff, the department could save $12,000 which would be put toward a contingency reserve fund for the Tiverton Arena and the Davidson Centre in Kincardine.
She said of the $69,000 budget, $28,000 would be used for existing municipal staff at the Davidson Centre, $17,000 for casual inside maintainer hours, and $12,000 for lead hand maintainer time. That leaves $12,000 for the reserve fund.
Councillor Kenneth Craig, recreation policy chairman, said that Simmons did an excellent job and there were no complaints from users of the facility.
However, he said that the recreation department business plan has been finalized and in order to save money, Davidson Centre staff should be deployed to the Tiverton Arena.
Councillor Randy Roppel said Simmons and her crew did a phenomenal job during the 2011-12 winter season. "They did it professionally, with integrity, and put hours of dedication into that centre. And people had nothing to complain about which is a bonus for us."
He said new staff was hired for the Davidson Centre but that will not be adequate to cover both facilities. "You're going to need more staff and that will mean more money for wages and benefits."
Roppel said the contract position should continue because Simmons did a great job. Plus, the arena was in such good shape that it resulted in extra ice rentals, meaning more money to run the facility. He supported a three-year contract with Simmons.
"I thought we hired more staff just for the Davidson Centre," said deputy mayor Anne Eadie. "Were they also for Tiverton?"
"We have three part-time staff that can provide 50 hours over two weeks (to Tiverton)," said Kieffer, "and we have extra hours for lots of casual staff. Our lead hand would spend two days per week in Tiverton."
"Have those additional wages and benefits been figured into the operating budget?" asked Eadie.
"Yes," said Kieffer.
"A year ago, we were having this same conversation," said councillor Ron Coristine. "Now, we have a success story and letters of support (for Simmons). This is a positive thing. On the other hand, we have the promise of saving money if we do things differently."
He agreed with those who want the arena run by people from Tiverton, meaning Simmons.
"I did not acknowledge the increase in staff at the Davidson Centre as a deployment of staff to the Tiverton Arena," said councillor Jacqueline Faubert. "I'm concerned that this is not in the report. I'm on Ron (Coristine)'s side. There is pride and ownership by the people of Tiverton in their sports centre. If we added up the volunteer hours, they would trump the $12,000 in savings."
Councillor Candy Hewitt agreed that her understanding was that the extra people were hired because they were needed at the Davidson Centre.
"One full-time and two part-time positions fill the complement at the Davidson Centre," said Kieffer. "We thought that if we had extra time, we could put those skills to use at another facility."
"We did instruct the recreation policy chairman and staff to come back with a report comparing the contract position to using municipal staff at the Tiverton Arena," said councillor Maureen Couture. "My only suggestion is that if the recommendation is not to go with municipal staff, that this issue not come back to the table again next year."
Councillor Mike Leggett agreed, saying that if council decides to go with a contractor, make sure it's a long-term contract.
"We have already set a precedent for extending contracts," said Roppel. "We did it for the airport manager and the Tiverton Sports Centre when Dennis Todd was the manager. We should offer the same consideration in this respect."
"Those extensions were for specific reasons and for specific time periods," said Couture. "If a contract is to be let, it has to be put to tender and advertised."
Craig asked chief administrative officer Murray Clarke whether the position should be put to tender or the contract extended.
Clarke said that would involve a detailed review of the municipality's purchasing and procurement policy.
Simmons was finally allowed to speak and make her presentation. She thanked council and staff for allowing her and her crew the opportunity to serve their community.
"We are interested in continuing despite the long hours and hard work," she said. "I have taken the HVAC (heating and cooling systems) course and passed with honours. If I were awarded a contract, I would also take the ice-making, ice-painting and ice maintenance technology courses."
She noted the operation of the Tiverton Arena came in under budget last year. "We tried several cost-saving measures which were different and innovative. We used a steamer to clean and that cut down on chemical use."
Simmons said the crew she had working at the sports centre was from the Tiverton rural community.
In a straw vote, the proposal for municipal staff to take over management of the Tiverton Arena was defeated.
The committee agreed to go with a contract position for the Tiverton Arena manager's job. That recommendation will come to council at the May 16 meeting.
In the meantime, staff will bring forward a report on how the contract position should be awarded - by extension or by a new tender.
"Let's make sure it's a long-term contract this time," said Faubert.
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012