News / Edmonton

Councillors vote to hire external consultant to process employee complaints

Edmonton is planning to hire the external consultant for $2.5 million

Councillors voted unanimously to hire a third party consultant for $2.5 million, to take in city employee complaints.

Kevin Tuong / Edmonton Freelance

Councillors voted unanimously to hire a third party consultant for $2.5 million, to take in city employee complaints.

City councillors voted unanimously Tuesday to hire an external party to process harassment complaints from city employees at a cost of $2.5 million.

“We definitely want to get to the root of it and install public confidence in the system,” said Ward 12 Coun. Moe Banga. “This third party will be monitoring all the complaints, also developing a solution on how to handle it in the future.”

The city is currently accepting requests for proposals from companies for the $2.5 million contract.

In a report presented to the Executive Committee, administration said a portion of the service will be a fixed fee, with the remaining amount given on a per-investigation hourly basis, but did not include the amount.

Administration said they will provide the executive committee with the final agreement once it’s been finalized.

The recommendation was originally made at the audit committee meeting on Nov. 20 after city administration apologized for letting bullying of city staff become a “systemic issue”.

The harassment and discrimination of city employees came to light after a survey revealed that one-fifth of city employees admitted to experiencing it at some point in their work.

City Manager Linda Cochrane had apologized to city staff and vowed to do more to make sure that they felt safe in the city's current corporate culture.

A second recommendation was also made at the Nov. 20 audit committee meeting to provide a consistent and well-communicated process for exit interviews for city employees.

The city has already started the process for selecting an independent third-party consultant to take in employee complaints.

“We don't have the process in place for tomorrow, it’s at least six months,” Banga said.

“They will be taking up all the complaints and then resolving them and then preparing data for the city presentation.”

Funding for the contract will be taken from existing departmental budgets.

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