Tofino’s district office is doing alright despite capacity challenges, according to BC’s Auditor General for Local Government.
Gordon Ruth and his staff spent two weeks in Tofino late last year to conduct a performance audit of the district’s human resources practices.
“The audit found that Tofino, a small local government, took a largely informal approach to human resources, resulting in some inconsistency in practices and documentation across departments,” according to the AGLG’s audit report released last week.
“However, the District’s human resources practices were mostly effective, with Tofino mitigating the challenges it faces with relatively high staff turnover through strategies ranging from district-owned staff accommodation to streamlining and emphasizing business improvement processes.”
The report, which can be found at www.aglg.ca, detailed 13 ways Tofino could improve, including providing clearer job descriptions, better outlining compensation for union-exempt employees, and shoring up staff recruitment efforts.
“While the District does not have dedicated human resources staff, it is mostly successful in managing the risks associated with its limited human resources capacity…and we were pleased to find a foundation in place to provide core human resources functions across the organization,” Ruth said.
“Tofino could build on its foundation to effectively manage and administer core HR services by setting service levels and quality standards to help inform workplace planning and enhance accountability by formalizing succession plans for key staff members.”
Tofino’s Chief Administration Officer Bob MacPherson told the Westerly News the audit offered solid paths towards improvements.
“It was pretty complete and I think the work that they did is of value,” he said. “I wouldn’t say, and I don’t think they would say, that they came in and, after two weeks, had a perfect understanding of any aspect of work life on the West Coast, but they came in and had a good look at our documentation and gave us an opportunity to discuss it with them.”
He said he was not surprised by any of the recommendations put forward and that each one is being addressed.
“We are taking them seriously. There’s an action plan we have already prepared that will start to implement those recommendations,” he said.
“Making sure contract management is 100 per cent up to date, making sure we’re fairly compensating our exempt staff; those kinds of things are of assistance in reducing risks and that benefits the district and that benefits our taxpayers.”