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Staff turnover spurs city to evaluate pay and benefits

Peter Crnogorac
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 08/06) - The City of Yellowknife is hiring a consultant to compare its salaries and benefits with the competitive marketplace, because it has had problems retaining employees in the past few years, said the mayor.

"We have a turnover rate of about 20 per cent," he said.

About 100 city employees, who are part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, signed a new three-year contract last year. Under that contract, they will receive a three per cent raise this year, a three per cent raise in 2007, and a four per cent raise in 2006.

However, Van Tighem said the contract settlement hasn't affected the staffing turnover rate. "The indication is that the (turnover) rate is the same this year at about 20 per cent," Van Tighem said.

Coun. Kevin Kennedy said anything that helps him understand city issues can't be a negative thing. "It certainly doesn't hurt to compare rates with other cities and markets," he said.

Van Tighem said the study will look at comparable companies in the private sector and other municipalities. He added that Yellowknife is a unique city and the comparison must be broken down into categories. "First off we'll look at Whitehorse and Charlottetown (P.E.I.)," he said. "(Charlottetown) has annexed many surrounding communities and is now close to the size of Yellowknife."

Van Tighem also said that whatever company is given the award to do the comparison, they'll have to look at cities that have a growth rate similar to that of Yellowknife in the past few years, such as Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie.

Van Tighem said the study will cost the city at least $25,000, because calls for submissions are not made unless the cost of the project will be more than that price range, said Van Tighem. All proposals must be received at the City Hall Reception desk before Dec. 19 at 1:30 p.m.