Amalgamation - pros and cons
To the Editor,
Read with interest the article and editorial concerning amalgamation. Call it amalgamation or consolidation or moving to a single tier they all ask the same question – will citizens of Haliburton County be better served by a single level of government versus our current multi-tiered structure.
Given the Ford government’s stated focus on efficiency, this is the right time to seriously analyze and understand the benefits and drawbacks of amalgamation. Better that the citizens of Haliburton manage this process than have the province manage it for us.
As one who has been through organizational restructuring exercises I have learned (painfully in some cases) three things.
- Political and administrative leadership in all five jurisdictions must be committed to understanding the benefits and impacts of consolidation and implementing resulting findings.
- Be clear that the objective of restructuring is understood as rightsizing, not downsizing. Simple cost cutting by headcount reductions doesn’t guarantee all Haliburton citizens will benefit from improved governmental effectiveness or efficiency.
- It is essential that the analysis be led by third party experts with specific experience in understanding and managing organizational change. Local parties are too close to the people and institutions under review to ensure objectivity.
I am not sure what has to happen to initiate this process. Presumably the county government supported by volunteers from each township undertakes the preparation of a scope of work which details expected outcomes, timelines and budget for review and approval by the townships.
I do agree with the editor that it is the time to take the issue of amalgamation beyond the discussion stage and into the realm of analysis. As a start, it would be instructive if every candidate in the upcoming election stated their position on moving forward hiring a third party expert to outline how they would propose to review of the benefits and drawbacks of a single tier government and how their proposals would be implemented in Haliburton County.