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RCMP staffing shortages leads to overtime costs for Town of Olds

Adjustments were made to budget in wake of staffing shortages
mvt Olds town office-2
File photo/MVP Staff

OLDS — Due to staffing shortages that have occurred, overtime costs for Olds RCMP hit almost $22,000 from April 1 to June 30. A revised plan has set aside $100,000 for those costs by the end of the fiscal year.

Total costs, including staffing and maintenance (as per the 70 per cent cost/sharing formula) hit $180,119 as of the first quarter (April 1-June 30) and, the latest financial plan could see them hit $1,301,271 by the end of the fiscal year.

During town council’s Sept. 7 policies and priorities meeting, Staff Sgt. Warren Wright, the commanding officer of the Olds RCMP detachment was asked about those figures.

He explained that some staff were fully or partly off for various reasons, including parental leave.

“I can tell you a lot more are back to work now. So the first quarter was probably the lightest we’ve been in a while, but moving into the second quarter we’re almost there,” he said.

“Should the Town of Olds be expecting to be billed for more overtime than what was originally budgeted,” deputy mayor Mary Jane Harper asked.

“Well it’s my responsibility to try to stay within the caps and certainly I’m working very hard with that. The first quarter was – it did consume a lot of our budget just because of everything that was going on and low resourcing levels,” Wright said.

“Now that being said, we’re moving into the second quarter, we’re moving into the fall. Our resourcing levels have come up and need for overtime has gone down. So by the time March 30 comes around, I’m hoping that I’ve reached the cap I see.”

The town has also budgeted for a sargeant to be hired for the Olds RCMP detachment.

In an email to The Albertan, Wright said that person would supervise investigations and help out administratively.

Council asked Wright when that person is likely to be hired.

He said that depends on whether it’s a lateral move (a sargeant moving from one place to Olds) or if someone is promoted to that position. 

He said if it’s a lateral move, a sergeant might be in place at the detachment by the end of this year. If it’s a promotion, that person is not likely to be at the Olds detachment until some time next spring.

Council passed a motion by Coun. Mary Anne Overwater to have Wright come back to a later council meeting to provide more detail on staffing and staffing costs.


Doug Collie

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