Crowsnest council approves 48-hour service policy

·3 min read

Although it might not feel like it, each of us right now is travelling ridiculously fast.

The Earth travels 942 million kilometres each year, which works out to a speed of 30 km/second. That means every 48 hours we all travel over 2.5 million kilometres.

Needless to say, a lot can happen in 48 hours, which is exactly why Crowsnest Pass council approved a public-inquiries policy during the April 20 council meeting.

The policy requires administrative staff to respond to all public inquiries or concerns within 48 hours. Public communications directed to managers are to be responded to within five days.

The policy only stipulates a deadline for returning a resident’s phone call or email and does not give a time frame of when requests will actually be addressed, since multiple factors play into the municipality’s service schedule.

On top of in-person visits, the municipal office receives 15,000 to 20,000 calls to the main switchboard every year — about 55 a day, give or take. Despite that volume, an internal survey indicated 92 per cent of employees felt they would be able to meet the two-day limit and 63 per cent of managers agreed the five-day time frame was doable.

Mayor Blair Painter said the policy was important for the municipality to implement.

“We are in the service business; we field questions and answers from our residents, and we need to do it in a timely manner,” he said.

Though seeing no issue with the 48-hour limit for employees, the mayor expressed concern the five-day limit for managers wasn’t fast enough.

“It would be nice if we were able to tighten that up a little bit,” said Mayor Painter.

The discrepancy in time frames, replied chief administrative officer Patrick Thomas, was because of the way managers typically receive requests from the public as compared to employees.

“The difference between the two days and five days is email — email is the real kicker,” CAO Thomas said. “On the phone, probably most of us are meeting that two-day limit.”

For that reason, said Coun. Lisa Sygutek, the manager time frame was more than acceptable.

“I’m not really worried about the five days because these guys have a lot on their plate,” she said. “I think five days is reasonable, and I think they all shoot for faster than that, but that is at least a timeline.”

Decreasing the policy’s time frames would bring with it additional costs, added Coun. Dean Ward.

“Any issues I’ve passed on to administration have been dealt with within days. If we expect more than that, we’re probably going to have to hire more people,” he said.

Council unanimously approved the policy with a motion for administration to bring it back to a meeting in 12 months so the newly elected councillors would have a chance to review it.

The next regular council meeting will be held Tuesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at the MDM Community Centre in Bellevue. The agenda packet will be made available online at bit.ly/CNPagenda.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze