Pembroke – Bruce Beakley, the long-time director of Human Resources at the County of Renfrew, is no longer in the employ of the county as a move towards restructuring begins.
“It is not something I am allowed to comment on at all at this point,” CAO Paul Moreau told the Leader after confirming Mr. Beakley is no longer working at the county.
He did confirm the issue was dealt with in a closed meeting of Renfrew County council which was held in early November as part of ongoing efficiency finding and listening to a report from consultants Strategycorp who looked at the entire operation of the county and provided recommendations.
“The county is looking at a service delivery review and it does involve some restructuring,” Mr. Moreau said.
Although not commenting on Mr. Beakley specifically or the Human Resources department, he did confirm there was a recommendation by the consultants to have a Corporate Services Division which would combine both Human Resources and Finance under one umbrella.
“In front of county council on November 25 there will be a proposal to create a Corporate Services Division,” Mr. Moreau said.
The detailed service delivery review report by Strategycorp was dealt with in closed apparently because it involved matters of a confidential nature including specific employment positions, it appears.
When Strategycorp gave a preliminary report to county council in an open session in late August there were 35 areas for potential improvement, including 10 which were enterprise-wide, 19 which were department specific and five looking at shared services. At the time councillors offered input of their own on the preliminary recommendations. In the preliminary report which was available to the general public and media, service delivery improvement opportunities presented included implementing a one window-approach to customer service, looking at hiring a professional engineer on staff instead of hiring out engineering services, hiring a human resources specialist to work for the long-term care homes and having increased collaboration with private long-term care homes in the county and other counties and creating a more interconnected health services offering in emergency services. Another area of finding efficiencies with shared services was facilitating a regional discussion on waste management. As well there was the possibility of sharing services for professional development and training, economic development through a regional economic commission, increased communication with the lower tier municipalities and shared trail maintenance services.
At the time meeting in August, county councillors were warned the province was watching their response to a preliminary interim report on a service delivery review which was funded by the province searching for greater efficiencies. It was stated municipalities that don’t find ways to save and share may be pressured to amalgamate.
“It is not free money,” Chris Loreto, a principal at Strategycorp, said at the time. “There is an expectation that there will be savings and efficiencies achieved through the process.
“Those that don’t take advantage will be at a risk for future amalgamation,” he cautioned. “It is fair to say given the fiscal circumstances coming out of COVID, it may not be imminent, but I can certainly see amalgamation being back on the table in a couple of years.”
Both upper tier municipalities like the county and lower tier municipalities, like the 17 which make up the county, were given funding by the province to find efficiencies. There was also funding to hire a consultant to help with the process.
Mr. Beakley not only had a high-profile position in the county as one of the senior managers and directors of a department, but also was very visible throughout the county helping municipalities when they would go through hiring processes. He was instrumental in the hiring of many key positions in lower tier municipalities and other organizations in the county.
Mr. Beakley had also received a great deal of recognition for his work, attaining professional certifications in his field and also providing training which was held at the county for others in the municipal sector.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader