Town of Cobourg Operational Plan for 2024

In 2020, Council contracted with KPMG to do an organizational review. Then in 2021, Council directed CAO Tracey Vaughan to prepare an “Organizational Review Implementation Plan” to spell out specific actions. The first step, in 2023, was to decide the “Strategic Vision” so the “Strategic plan for 2023-2027 and Beyond” was developed. Tracey has now delivered the implementation plan which revolves around actions and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). In addition, there is now an online measurement report on the KPIs. (Go to “Operational Plan – Program Dashboard” at the link in Resources). There are three sets of KPIs based on the Strategic Plan’s Priorities/Pillars: 1) Sustainability;  2) Service Excellence and 3) Thriving Community.  Each set has 4 “Strategic Actions” and 2 or 3 goals with measurements. 

The plan spelling out specific actions (items to be done in 2024) was presented to the Council meeting on June 26. At the same time, Tracey announced that the Program Dashboard is now available.

To be clear, Tracey’s team has produced two things: 1) a set of Strategic Actions and KPIs which are monitored and available online and 2) a list of things to be done in 2024 – called Actions. The KPIs are high level measurements and the actions are specific “to-do’s”.

Operational Plan

The plan presented for Tracey by Kara Euale (Communications Manager) and Chris Challenger (Manager, Office of CAO) is called “Town of Cobourg 2024 Operational Plan”. The content of immediate interest is the list of Actions for each Pillar of the Strategic Plan.  We also care about the KPIs for each Pillar.

Thriving Community

2024 Actions

  • Development plans for 117 Durham Street
  • Town Official Plan Update
  • Cobourg East Community Secondary Plan
  • Identify AccessAbility Champions Across Town Department
  • Community Engagement for Multi-Year AccessAbility Plan
  • Aging Well at Home Program – Cobourg Fire Community Education Program
  • Vehicle for Hire By-law and Licensing Agreement
  • Short Term Rental Licensing By-law

KPIs

  • Community Engagement Meets Population Sample
  • Building Permits Issued and Inspections Provided within Legislated Timelines
  • 400 Fire Safety Education Initiatives

See Operational Plan – Program Dashboard for details of KPIs for Thriving Community

 

Service Excellence

2024 Actions

  • Budget Community Engagement Strategy
  • Limited Fixed Route Transit: One-Year Trial Program
  • Delegation of Authority By-law
  • PEER Support Program – Fire
  • Improved Financial Reporting – Quarterly Budget Reports
  • Power Pages – Improved access to Council documents and Staff reports
  • Onboard Manager of the Office of the CAO
  • Onboard Customer Service Representative
  • Non-Union Compensation Review

KPIs

  • 25% Improvement in Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Website
  • Average length of service for Town of Cobourg Employees is 5 years or more
  • Complete 175 hours of Cyber Security Training Per Year

See Operational Plan – Program Dashboard for details of KPIs for Service Excellence

 

Sustainability

2024 Actions

  • Addressing Bill 23 Heritage Matters
  • Parks Master Plan Update
  • Staff a Sustainability Coordinator
  • Fleet Electrification: Building Department
  • Update Town of Cobourg Emergency Plan
  • Establish new Emergency Operations Centre
  • Asset Management Plan (2024/2025)
  • Staff a Town Procurement Manager
  • Update Procurement Policy to Promote Sustainability
  • User Fee Study

KPIs

  • Reserves as a Percentage of Expenses
  • Improved Project Tracking and Budgeting

See Operational Plan – Program Dashboard for details of KPIs for Sustainability.

 

This is new.  It’s the first time we have seen what staff are planning for the year.  Note that the KPIs do not relate to the specific actions – they are in addition to them.

And Progress Reports are promised each quarter!

The above is a summary – for more detail, look at the full report (see link in Resources) plus visit the Operational Plan – Program Dashboard on the Town’s web site.

Resources

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Rob
19 days ago

To be honest these are sandbagging KPI’s and are frankly underwhelming. The objective should be challenging and should feel like a stretch. For example, (a) 25% improvement in resident satisfaction in the Towns NEW website is far too easy to achieve – how about a 75% improvement and what about measuring the effectiveness of the website. (b) 175 hours of annual retraining in cyber security is a directive – 1.2 hours per employees in 2024 – the directive is achieved easily by mandating the training and shutting off connectivity for anyone who has not completed the training on or before the stated deadline. (c) Instead of measuring the average tenure of an employee (5-years) what about measuring retention rates plus voluntary/involuntary turnover (as well as processing exit interviews for all departing employees and using that information to improve the organization) – what about measuring employee engagement? (d) Community Engagement is an important KPI so measuring engagement events, engaged population at events, engagement “scores” and statistics related to quantity/quality of feedback are all things that need to be measured as a KPI. (e) The number of Fire Safety Education sessions feels like part of a KPI but the measure should include effectiveness of the education – not to mention the Town has a fulltime Chief Prevention Officer which should be doing these things as part of their regular work. This doesn’t seem like a stretch and it feels incomplete.

The Sustainability KPI is similar – tracking projects and submission of financial reports are not really KPI’s – they are requirements of someone’s job. Measuring to ensure projects are on time and on budget should be part of the measurement.

I’d like to say its a start however they have been working on this for far too long, supported by consultants, and this falls short for me…

Bill Thompson
21 days ago

This issue may not fit in at this time of planning but over this Canada Day weekend the “empty” school buses to and from the park appears to continue for “tourists”.
It has been drawn to the town’s attention several times in the past as this unneeded cost to tax payers.
Why has it not ceased these days of trying to keep costs down?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bill Thompson
21 days ago

Trying to keep costs down? Where have you been? Additional management hires, pay raises, $8M for an unnecessary water tower,…

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Ken Strauss
21 days ago

I was referring to keeping the cost to we taxpayers of course ! 😤

Last edited 21 days ago by Bill Thompson
Kevin
Reply to  Bill Thompson
21 days ago

Bill, I understand your concerns about cost to taxpayers of empty school buses. I was wondering why one was driving by as I was getting ready to watch the fireworks with friends. Ken’s point, in my opinion, is the town staff is not interested in cost savings. They seem to be interested in expanding the number of employees and services provided. This does not keep the cost of taxes down, it only increases taxes.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Kevin
21 days ago

Exactly !

carol
Reply to  Bill Thompson
21 days ago

I believe the buses were to bring people to the downtown for the waterfront festival. People could park at the Mall and use the shuttle bus. Unfortunately I don’t think anyone knew about the parking I am not sure where it was posted but someone told me finally on Monday. I note that even the private parking has increased to 30.00 a day instead of the town charging 40.00 per day. Gone are the days when the hockey teams got the revenue now its a business. We lost the highland games to Port Hope because of the parking how long before we lose everything. I am not suggesting that we pay for visitors but it is also families living in this community that really cannot afford to come to the beach area and pay the 40.00. I wondered if the by law officers giving out tickets on Canada Day get double time for working on the holiday. I am still mystified why we need so many consultants (looks like we are headed for more) when our staff is well paid and should be experienced enough in their department to make at least some decisions without a consultant.

Sandpiper
23 days ago

They would not need to do this sort of Image rebuilding if the various Departments were in fact Productive and responsive This is nothing more than sitting around their offices for the last year
occupying their time on Tax Dollars .
Nothing will change other than they will either hire someone to input what Dept. employees tell then too put in or more time will be spent on this than actual work and faster communications .
Do the Job of Serving the Public Perform
I wish these people were paid on a Performance or Commission basis like a lot of us .

Sandpiper
Reply to  Sandpiper
21 days ago

I guess some people do not like the idea of performance / productivity tied to pay
or the job
Guess your not self employed either

Dave
Reply to  Sandpiper
21 days ago

It is reported Sandpiper that Canada overall has a productivity problem. Seems too many factors have come in to play in the hiring, promotion and workforce that have nothing to do with performing. It is insidious and is due to the many woke policies that have been put forth. Most likely present here in Cobourg – why not? It is everywhere else and one reason given as why the TSX is not performing.

Last edited 21 days ago by Dave
Dave
Reply to  Dave
21 days ago

Considering the so far one down vote I will add the Canada’s productivity problem was reported through CTV News. My prior working experience I saw this in places of employment. Rewards for the productive were a secondary thought.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Dave
20 days ago

I understand this completely
How ever its a Choice and Managements sole purpose to overcome these lethargic policies and employee practices .
If not overcome and Positive & Productive practices are not adopted by the Employees any Business can and will fail .
Maybe I should qualify that with the exception of Govt. at all levels .

But as 1 commenter indicated that he has seen on several occasions
Parks or Road employees where 1 is working and 4 are sitting in the trucks
PLAYING
on their Cel phones I have seen this dozens of times
May be the public should start a Photo Campaign and post pictures of this sort of
Work Ethic for all to see what our Tax Dollar is Buying us .
May be we can use the Cobourg East Neighbourhood Blog site for this
citizens photo page May be then Department management will start to
take notice .

Cobourg taxpayer
23 days ago

Thanks to this blog I have been following this process since inception and previous attempts as well. While there are a few specifically measurable KPI’s it remains to be seen if they are accomplished. It feels like baby steps but that is better than no steps at all. The reporting of finances including revenue and spending is hopefully decipherable by Cobourg residents. The planning department, engineering, public works, bylaw etc should also have KPIs, why only the building and hr departments? HR really only looks at employee retention, length of service etc. What about actual performance as in what is accomplished during the very short work week and working from home? Do employees/supervisors keep a work/time log? Too often I drive by a city truck idling, employees staring at their phones or one person working and the rest watching. How about no cell phone use on the job? These are the very specific KPIs I would like to see my tax money is spent efficiently.

Kathleen
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
22 days ago

Add to that, the redundancy…I can only speak to the number of times street cleaners and snow ploughs go up and down the same West End roads.

Tucker
Reply to  Kathleen
22 days ago

I disagree Kathleen. The street cleaner only goes up one side and down the other on my street, same for the snow plough. However, it would be really great if the disrespectful vehicle owners would follow the Bylaws and park their cars in their garages, when a “snow event” happens. It would make the jobs of both those town employees a lot easier and then maybe then wouldn’t have to go up and down your street so many times.

Kathleen
Reply to  Tucker
22 days ago

Our particular street has no cars parked. I know, it’s unusual for the West end. If you’re not seeing them multiple times too then maybe that’s why they keep going up and down our street – it’s easier and fills their time.

Tucker
Reply to  Kathleen
22 days ago

Your street might be a “collector” road, ours is not. That may be why you see the plough or plow, by the way, both spellings mean the same, American or British spelling, look up the Winter Parking Bylaw.

Dave
Reply to  Kathleen
22 days ago

Our street constantly has cars parked on it overnight despite the fact the owners of the cars have parking at their residence and some even have paid parking spots that are empty as they prefer to park closer to their doors. Years past in Torotno during the lay off season I would take employment as a snow plow operator. The cars were a plain nuisance to keeping the streets clear of snow. During the winter in which the the mayor there called the army in after a very bad storm I was on – at first the dispatch said lift the plow, the 2nd day he said plow ’em in which I happily did. Too many people park on the streets when there is no need.

Last edited 22 days ago by Dave
Tucker
Reply to  Dave
21 days ago

The Town of Cobourg has a parking Bylaw #048-2023 Sect. 15-2 which limits parking on ANY street in Cobourg to 12 hrs. So, keep an eye out and report them, maybe when they get a ticket or two they won’t be so lazy. The phone number is 905-372-8380 and apparently they now have 24 hr. service I’m told.

Kevin
Reply to  Kathleen
22 days ago

East end as well. If your street is on a bus route, or was a bus route as it is on demand now, then your street might get priority for snow clearing. However, that schedule should have been updated to save costs. Bus stops still have snow removed from them but there aren’t really any bus stops on some streets because the bus stops everywhere. Some streets are cleaned more than necessary. Tucker, is it necessary to plough (plow?) or sweep your street every time it is done?

Last edited 22 days ago by Kevin
Kathleen
Reply to  Kevin
22 days ago

We are close to muliple school bus stops but no local buses.

Tucker
Reply to  Kevin
22 days ago

Not understanding your last sentence.

Kevin
Reply to  Tucker
21 days ago

Tucker, you wrote the street cleaner only goes up and down your street once. Not likely once a year. Is it once a month, once a week? Is your street in need of sweeping every time the cleaner is used on it? The same question for snow plowing. I have watched, on multiple occasions, snow plows driving on streets with no snow. The blades scraping the asphalt. In other words there would be a savings in paid time, fuel, wear on equipment and roads if the drivers of the equipment could make decisions and not plow streets when there is no snow. Sweeping the streets less frequently would also result in savings.

Tucker
Reply to  Kevin
21 days ago

I didn’t keep track of how many times the street cleaner comes onto our street. But yes, it does require cleaning, buds off trees collecting on the roads, then clogging up the sewers I presume. The rude neighbor throwing his unused coffee on the street, leaving a sticky mess. The “droppings” from the garbage truck. As far as the snow plow, in 15 years of living here, I’ve only witnessed it once with blade down when there was no snow to remove. Good job by both departments.

Ross Dudley
23 days ago

I worked for the Town of Cobourg for a very long time. I have witnessed various forms of this idea enacted in the past . You can see how they worked out.

George Taylor
Reply to  Ross Dudley
23 days ago

same old, same old

Sandpiper
23 days ago

Made by the Town for the Town Image Building
I for one would like to see an independent Review Board
and Fact Checkers . People like a Minister , Lawyer, Builder Developer Association
Rather than the Town just posting Passing Marks and looking for
more pay increases next year.

cornbread
23 days ago

I e-mailed the town on May 29th about my tax bill calculated on the wrong assessment. Tax Revenue Clerk Brenda passed the e-mail to Director Giddings and Manager Lewis for review and action. Left message on Giddings line 2 weeks ago for update. Now June 30th, HAVE NOT HEARD FROM ANYONE. “Plan versus Actual” scores “ZERO” in my book.

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  cornbread
23 days ago

Cornbread, you need to go to Town Hall and rattle a few cages.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
21 days ago

Why should we have to go to that extent
If you were a Concerned employee for Private industry or self employed
You would respond and deal with every coatomer concern and complaint
in fast order
1- to keep you business afloat and more from that person
2- get some great pro mo from a satisfied consumer or constituent
3- a good employee wants to keep their job and what better way than
contribute to good public relations , productivity and keeping costs and overhead
down for your employer
That’s not happening in Govt .
Hide and Seek for a Grand a week was the saying back in the day

cornbread
23 days ago

All I can say is that in this town, “There is one big difference in The Plan versus The Doing”.