CUPE 960 officers were present and watching the November 25th Oshawa City Council meeting and took the following notes:
From first delegation, School Board: 62% of housing in Durham is in Oshawa. In 2013 Oshawa had planned 223 developments to begin; however there has been a 606 developments which is a 1725 raise. This means development charges and property taxes which means there SHOULD be an increase in funding.
There is a Christmas Backpack program for at-risk youth at The Refuge. A $75.00 donation will fund a backpack for these at-risk youth.
According to the Durham District School Board Make a Difference presentation, most of the low income cutoff families live in oshawa. Most the parent-family literacy centres are in Oshawa. Of ages 0-12 in the low income cutoff category in Durham Region, 19.8% live in Oshawa.
Next up on the agenda was the presentation by Ian Heckford, Oshawa Public Library CEO and Gil Patterson, Library Board Chair. An interesting statistic is that the library workers in Oshawa is 87% female; however this workforce is consistently represented by males and the majority of the management team is male. City council is also mostly male.
Ian last met with council on February 11th and over the last nine months have been working on the following consultant's report recommendations:
So, in 9 months the library could complete some of the recommendations, some will take a few years, some Ian said they may determine 'do we even need to do this at all?' In response to the Auditor general's report, the library costs were not effectively managed and needed to reduce reliance on funding from the city. $140,000 savings were found and a 1.8% reduction. Library continues to review all reductions and spending.
In December 2008, this was first brought up and in 2009 benchmarks of other libraries were looked at. In 2010 CIty Finance recommended the sharing of services including all finance, admin, IT, H&S, to integrate with city. In 2011 there were discussions and advice on collective agreement info, according to document FA 11-04, there were impediments in 2011 and staff continue to find more efficiencies. There have been 4 task groups: IT, HR, Finance, Facilities and will also be looking at legal and purchasing. What these groups are looking at includes level units, potential legal and liability issues, integrating 3 CUPE locals, how will library's priorities be determined?
Ian then reminded the council that next year we are looking at 150 years of library service and invited the board to events surrounding the 150th anniversary.
Councillor John Neal asked, "What are you doing in regards to supporting young children in poverty?" Ian said, "We are doing a great deal supporting literacy, with partnerships with school boards, large number of programs, many partnerships, and a fair number of programs available.:
Councillor Sanders commented that he was happy to see that many of the recommendations have been looked at including self-checkout and shared services, happy to see a reduced budget and that they are looking at a leaner management team. He asked if there will be consistent hours across the board and Ian said, "No final decisions have been made yet."
Councillor Bouma reported that even though there have been a reduced number of programs, attendance has increased and the library is doing a great job with 5 1/2 less persons than previously were there (*editors note - I think this is 4.5 %) Ian said the message was clearly understood that the 2014 budget would be $300,000 less than 2012.
Councillor Wood asked if the library could find any more savings to reduce the reliance of 8.4 million from the city? "Can you find more efficiencies to add?" Ian reported, "We are looking at more and have achieved more." Wood stated, "So it's safe to say there's no gravy train on your front porch?" Ian replied, "Uh, no."
Councillor Marimpietri commented on programming resources and asked how the library is serving the university/college population and Ian replied that there is a plan to open longer hours for study hall primarily aimed at Durham/UoIT/ and Trent.
The meeting was quite long and a councillor was even asked to leave but we are only writing on what pertained to the library workers.
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