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Dryden looks to recruit after ‘devastating’ staff loss

By Adam Riley Mar 11, 2024 | 11:00 AM

File Photo (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Recovery, that is what the City of Dryden is trying to do following the revelation it had lost a fifth of its public works workforce during the last quarter of 2023.

Chief Administrative Officer Roger Nesbitt says it occurred when Dryden Fibre held a hiring fair.

“That’s fairly devastating from a standpoint of continuation of our operations and service provision, when we lose that number of employees to a single employer in the community at one time.”

The remarks from Nesbitt were made to council late last month, noting from a people perspective the loss amounts to five people, and in an email to Acadia Broadcasting added a sixth employee had also moved on to the forestry sector, increasing the loss to almost 25 percent.

In that same email he stresses the relationship between the municipality and other employers in the area is strong and his comments should not be interpreted of there being any bad blood, as those employers are conducting regular recruitment.

However this issue, like many others, is not isolated to Dryden as small communities across the country have had difficulty attracting and retaining staff, due to their remoteness, distance from larger city centres, and lack of affordable housing and amenities which contribute to quality of life.

In Dryden’s case, Nesbitt says there has been an extremely high turnover which has taken its toll on the municipality.

“Its hard to sustain operations when we’re constantly recruiting and trying to fill vacancies.”

As a result this has had across the board impacts from increased operating costs to service quality and delivery delays.

The comments also come after a new collective agreement was accepted in January by members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W) Local 1730, which increased benefits and will stay in effect for the next four years.

Nesbitt credits this agreement for helping the city stay competitive with other entities, whether they be private or public.