MacGregor Park Canada Day 2012
The Ward 18 Conservancy Proposal is starting to take shape. In my mind, it's pretty clear.
- Create a Ward 18 Conservancy Office as a sub-unit of Toronto East York Unit of the Recreation Branch of Parks Forestry and Recreation (PFR), under the management of a Supervisor (or perhaps a team of Supervisors, including Recreation, Parks, and Forestry).
- Place all recreation facilities and staff in Ward 18 under the management of this Supervisor.
- Provide this Supervisor with a budget that is a fair reflection of the money currently spent by Recreation in any way in Ward 18. This would be about $8M.
- Mandate the Supervisor to stay within this budget, but give him/her broad discretion in allocating this budget within the Ward
- Mandate the Supervisor with broad discretion in organizing and managing the staff and facilities under his/her care, including the community centres, wading Pools, outdoor Rinks, and Recreation staff in parks
- Mandate input from a local working group of experts, and from regular town hall meetings. In general embrace community involvement, and openness at all levels.
The expectation would be that the Supervisor would re-balance the management of Recreation as follows:
- People over Systems
- Outcomes over Process
- Decentralization over Centralization
- Openness (communication) over secrecy
This being consistent with the methods that have been proven in the Ward over the past couple of decades. Put another way, this would be consistent with modern employee management practices to obtain the best performance and loyalty from the staff.
The key is to find an appropriate supervisor who understands and champions this approach.
The main issue that I see is determining where to draw the line around the Supervisor's staff control - in particular whether to include support staff (such as Facilities and Parks people) who currently operate independently of the Recreation Branch.
But essentially, many the details can be worked out by the new supervisor, with the help of the Working Group of expert advisers.
Give it a fair trial over three to five years to see how it does.
This requires support from senior management. The benefits for management are:
- it brings the operation of dufferin park in-house (it had been guided for many years by community volunteers)
- it complies with City Council direction to experiment with conservancies with the aim of finding ways to realize efficiencies
- the clear budgeting and organization demarcations make the operations and outcomes measureable