A flip-flop on hiring at Parksville city hall

The city will now employ an Occupational Health and Safety Officer; meanwhile Coun. Al Greir says he is 'fed up' with in-camera meetings

Rejected in April, embraced in August.

Parksville city council members voted Monday night in a special meeting to add an Occupational Health and Safety Officer to staff, an addition they rejected during budget discussions in April.

The health and safety officer will cost the city $87,500 a year and will start in November. The city says this will not change the property tax increase for homeowners set on April 24, which was 1.5 per cent for 2015. “The addition of the Occupational Health and Safety Officer will provide much-needed relief to senior staff,” said a staff report considered by council on Monday night.

Mayor Marc Lefebvre said Tuesday changes to WorkSafe regulations have made it much more demanding to administer for city staff.

“Senior staff had a few months to get adjusted to the new WorkSafe program, they made a case and basically council said yeah, that makes sense,” said Lefebvre.

The vote was unanimous this week to add the staff member. Coun. Al Greir was opposed to the addition during budget talks in April. He told The NEWS this week he was reluctant to talk about any city issue that may have been discussed behind closed doors.

It’s unclear why the issue — discussed openly in budget talks in April — may have moved behind closed doors, and Greir would not confirm it did. He would provide no comment on any matter that may or may not have been discussed in camera. He did say he was planning to make a motion at the next regular meeting of council in regards to in-camera meetings. That next meeting is Monday at 6 p.m.

“I’m fed up with the in-camera meetings,” said Greir. “We are having too many.”