Some city bylaw officers will not be able to meet requirements of a new community safety officer position, according to a source familiar with the situation, meaning they will move to another city department or be forced out.
More information is coming to light about the city’s planned bylaws department restructuring, which includes amalgamating custodial guards and bylaw officers into one role.
Nearly three-dozen staff are expected to be impacted. A person familiar with the situation told KTW the city effectively laid off its bylaws staff and jail guards and provided them with several options.
Staff can apply for the new community safety officer job or a training opportunity, bump staff in another department or take up to 10 weeks severance pay.
According to the source, the problem is that many of the current staff will not be able to meet requirements of the new role. Some are older, with significant seniority.
The source said the city has made qualifications too difficult, including what was described as a “gruelling” physical abilities requirement.
“I’d say over half [of current staff] at least won’t pass it,” the source said of the physical test.
As a result, some of the staff who have been given notice are expected to be displaced, with two options available — the ability to bump city staff out of other jobs for which they do qualify at city hall, such as in the parks department or otherwise, or take severance and leave the city.
The source said the city enacted section 54 of B.C.’s labour code in order to restructure, due to the union contract.
That section is used when an employer introduces or intends to introduce a measure, policy, practice or change that affects the terms, conditions or security of employment of a “significant number of employees to whom a collective agreement applies.”
The source said staff were in “shock.” The union is on one side and the city apparently is on another, with lawyers involved.
“They’re having trouble [agreeing],” the source said.