Vancouver Service Review – Shared Services – IT

Vancouver Service Review

Shared Services – IT (Systems)

The Union met with Management from VPL (Paul Whitney, Ingrid Van Kemenade, Debbie Schacter), and City of Vancouver Management (Teresa Hartman – Acting Director of VSR), Roger Fast, Peter Underwood).

The IT portion of the shared services review consolidates most of the existing IT groups (silos such as Engineering, Parks, etc.) into one structure.  Vancouver Police Department and VPL are not currently included in this new structure.  This situation will be revisited In a few months in Phase II.  A confirmed date on the next phase has not been announced.

VPL has different software, class specifications and internal and external groups to serve.  We also have a separate board/different employer, like the VPL. None of this is easily incorporated into the City at present.  Given that some of these conditions may not change, we may be able to continue to operate independently.  There are not a lot of advantages for the Library to be under the umbrella of one IT department based at the City of Vancouver (COV).

Thirteen positions will be cut; two of them are CUPE 15 positions.  There is apparently $1,500,000 in savings.  These are mostly exempt positions and the incumbents will be placed elsewhere, some in IT positions

The Chief Information Officer is Roger Fast. The recommendations that were passed on April 30 for Shared Services – IT:

  • Organize into one Central IT organization for IT service delivery
  • CIO responsible for IT City wide (Except for VPL and VPD – for the moment)
  • Consolidate IT budgets both capital and operating

Also recommended, and approved, is to create the following IT positions:

  • 3 IT Planning analysts
  • Create an Asset Management position
  • Create Pilot project for Information Management

In addition

  • Create an Information Technology Advisory Group to govern key IT decisions and processes
  • Create and enforce City-wide IT policies and standards
  • Organize all IT projects under the IT Project Management Office
  • Implement Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for core IT Services

Here are some obvious problems:

  • Service Level Agreements (will we be paying the City IT to service the Library under an SLA?
  • If the Library moves under the umbrella of City-wide governance, do we lose what autonomy we have under the Library Act with the Library Board as Employer?
  • Are more of our higher Systems positions to be made exempt?
  • We have a few people doing a lot of systems work.  Will we get the same expertise and attention to detail that we get now if we become part of a City-wide program?

There are not any apparent savings as those who are losing one job,
will be getting another job (some in IT).  We understand there will be efficiencies that will make up for this.  There will be savings through ordering the identified materials in common use in bulk.

The plan for how this unfolds will not be available until the staff has been chosen for various positions.  Hmmm.

The last word the Union has heard on this is VPL and VPD organization units will remain in tact for now and transition to a Shared Service organization will occur where practical, over the next several months.  Let us how our practices are too opaque to fathom and our Employer really is the Library Board.