It’s official, West Nipissing seeks a full-time by-law officer

In an effort to make the by-law officer position more attractive, West Nipissing council has turned two part time positions into one full-time job. Councillor Daniel Gagne brought the item forward for discussion during council’s December 20th meeting, and this past week, council members agreed to accept the idea. A call for a full-time by-law officer will be posted in the upcoming weeks.

Currently, the municipality has two part time officers, working about 42 hours per week. That’s when they’re working because both positions are empty. “We have two open and empty positions for by-law officers,” Gagne said, and melding these two into one “will give us a better chance of recruiting.”

There’s an acute need within the community for an officer, Gagne said. He noted that while campaigning door to door, “one of the biggest questions was when are we going to get a by-law officer to enforce the by-laws?”

That time might be coming soon, as the consensus of council is that the full-time role will be more attractive to potential by-law officers than part-time hours. The cost will remain about the same, West Nipissing’s chief administrative officer Jay Barbeau noted.

For two officers the cost was budgeted at $99,000, he explained, and a single position “would be around $85,000.” Overall, “I don’t think there will be a difference” in the cost, and these costs already have a line in the 2022 budget, so the money has been earmarked.

Tack on vacation and benefits, and possibly some vehicle transportation costs. Currently, “we have a very old police van” for by-law use, Barbeau explained, which might have to be upgraded through a lease or a new or used vehicle. “It would be preferable to have a vehicle that would have a municipal logo” attached.

As for having all eggs in one basket, council emphasized it will continue to investigate options to cover the new officer’s vacations and down time. But for now, councillors want to get the ball rolling and put out a call for a full-time by-law officer.

“We had a difficult time recruiting part-time by-law officers” Barbeau said. “We should be able to get a qualified person to come in” with the full-time hours. Interested? Dust off the resume and prepare for the call, which will be posted on the Municipality’s website in the coming weeks.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca