Oliver town council still has plans to go forward with an independent core services review. The review, which would see the town’s services examined by consultants, would aim to ensure Oliver’s services are being offered efficiently, adequately and fiscally responsibly.
“We’ve engaged a firm for a proposal of what this review would look like for council to consider,” said Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes.
However, he was unable to disclose which firm would be putting in the proposal, as nothing has been formalized.
“We don’t have any kind of hidden agenda here,” he added. “We’ve never had a review like this in the Town of Oliver. We have a brand new council and a brand new mandate and we just want to make sure that we compare to similar-sized communities with similar-sized issues.”
Many other communities in the area have undergone the process in past years. Summerland, Osoyoos and Penticton have all had core service reviews done. While Summerland and Osoyoos didn’t make any drastic changes following their reviews, in 2010 Penticton cut spending and trimmed staffing levels following the process.
Rachel Champagne, the representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 608, which includes the Oliver area, said while the union isn’t against Oliver conducting a core services review, it should be preformed correctly.
“The union is not opposed to a core review, generally speaking,” she said. “Our concerns would be: is it going to be transparent; is it going to include public input; is it going to consider what’s best for the community, not what’s best for what appears to be the bottom dollar.”
She added the results from the Penticton review were symptomatic of the kind of review Oliver should avoid.
“In my view, that process was exactly the type of process that didn’t consider what was in the best interest of the community, that didn’t have enough public input, that wasn’t transparent enough to come out being in the best interest of the community,” said Champagne.
“We would be worried about that kind of core services review anywhere.”
Hovanes said Oliver’s review would both keep in mind the public interest and maintain transparency.
“Public interest is first and foremost,” he said. “We’re all public servants, whether you’re elected or an employee of the municipality, so the public interest is first and foremost. In regards to keeping it transparent, we’re going to be doing everything under the charter to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep it as transparent as possible.”
Oliver’s town council is aiming to have the review done by the end of this fiscal year.