Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Date: August 19, 1997

Dept. File No.

TO:Vancouver City Council

FROM:Assistant Fire Chief Support Services

SUBJECT:Attendance Management: Staffing Requirement


THAT Council approve the addition of one regular full-time clerical position to support the department’s administrative program, subject to job evaluation by the Director of Human Resources. Ongoing funding for this position (estimated at $37,000) will be added to the Operating Budget and 1997 funding (estimated at $9,000) will be from Contingency Reserve.


The General Manager Fire and Rescue Services RECOMMENDS approval of the foregoing.


Council has adopted a policy whereby departments and boards are required to identify expenditure reductions or related revenue increases in non-tax revenue, to offset the costs associated with requests for increased staff or enhanced programs.


The purpose of this report is to seek Council’s approval for the addition of a clerical position to support the department’s administrative program including attendance management.


Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VF&RS)has for many years lacked appropriate administrative and clerical support. When employee absenteeism was identified as a major

concern by the Corporate Management Team, pilot programs for attendance management were established in VF&RS. The first was for time loss associated with work related injuries (WCB); a second program was implemented to address non-work related absences (sick leave). These programs where implemented with the assistance of Human Resources.

In a one year period from mid 1995 to mid 1996 there was an indirect savings of approximately $700,000. In this situation the indirect savings are from the reduction in payments for sick and WCB salary continuance and the resulting reduction for extra shifts and overtime. Such absences also costs the Department in the form of lost efficiency, productivity and low moral.

There are also direct savings when absences cause staff shortages, including sickness and WCB which result in overtime costs. There are also costs associated with the Department’s WCB experience level. These costs are directly attributable to lines in the Department’s annual budget. Saving of $110,000 for overtime and $250,000 for WCB premiums have already been returned to the City as part of the 1997 budget process.

Based on a Corporate Management Team initiative, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services has actively pursued an attendance management program. The Department was used as a pilot for the program, starting in mid 1995. The information gained from the pilot is being used to assist other City work units implement their own attendance management programs.


At the present time the Department has combined attendance management for sickness and WCB into an efficient program. In order to continue to generate the benefits of this program, this clerical position is essential. The Department is currently utilizing temporary help funding intended for other purposes, which will, in all likelihood, leave this budget over spent. Permanent funding can be justified on the basis of the savings that have already been achieved from the program.

Creating a new regular position also has the advantage of bringing a level of consistency to the work. The key to the success of this program is the integrity of the information in the database. As temporary staff tend to migrate to permanent positions, the Department has experienced a high level of turnover and training requirements.


The approval of this position would increase the civilian staffing level of the Department byone clerical position.

The position will be subject to classification by the Director of Human Resources.


In the 1997 budget year, some of the savings (estimated at $110,000) anticipated from this program was removed from the departmental budget and applied to the Budget Management Program. A further $250,000 was removed as to reflect reduced premiums paid by the Department to the Workers Compensation Board. As a result of these reductions, the Department is unable to identify appropriate offsets for the requested position.

The estimated ongoing cost of the additional position is approximately $37,000 annually. The cost of $9,000 for the remainder of the 1997 budget year is requested from the Contingency Reserve. In subsequent years additional ongoing funding of $37,000 will be required in the Departments annual budget without further offsets.


For this program to remain efficient and effective there must administrative assistance. While the current use of temporary staff has met the immediate needs of the Department, there is a need for ongoing support to provide assistance in maintaining this integrity and stability in this administrative program.

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