Restructuring of services to citizens: a first step forward
Gatineau's administrative structure was at the heart of the discussions at a preparatory meeting of the plenary committee of the municipal council on September 20, 2022. During this meeting, Simon Rousseau, general Director of Gatineau, and Linda Brouillette presented a new administrative model that combines organizational restructuring and reorganization of the major services to residents. These changes were expected, especially since the appointment of Simon Rousseau, who had taken over the leadership of a somewhat exhausted team in June 2022 (the natural disasters of the past few years in Gatineau, such as the 2018 tornado, frequent flooding, etc., were a big part of this).
Since then, a great deal of work seems to have been done by the management team and the City departments involved, as demonstrated by the unveiling of five organizational priorities that will guide the changes to the administrative structure. These include attention to citizens (communities, inclusion, expectations, dialogue between the City and its citizens), attention to human resources (healthy and adapted work environment, teamwork, collective intelligence), appropriate management of public finances (financial viability, opportunities, risks), sustainable development (environmental protection, anticipating climate change), as well as organisational performance based on best practices (digitisation of services and administrative tasks, procedures, collaboration between the different teams, continuous improvement)
In addition to Gatineau's organizational priorities, the presentation of the management team also served as an announcement of the creation of new offices and services to strengthen this new administrative structure. These include the Bureau de la gestion des risques, the Bureau de la planification des actifs et des investissements, and the Bureau des relations avec les élus (municipaux). The Service de la mobilité (transport) and the Service de l'interaction citoyenne, which will be dedicated to relations, consultations and regulatory applications, will also soon be added to the City's offer. The Service de l’interaction citoyenne will also be responsible for the 311 non-emergency call centre. Finally, an administrative section called "Approvisionnement responsable" will be responsible for managing contracts, acquisitions and the sustainable development of the latter. As for the timetable proposed by the management team, it is spread over several months and is intended to be progressive. In addition, a committee will be set up to monitor the effect and effectiveness of the changes on the internal structure of the organization, as well as to offer support to the City's teams during the changes. Following a question from Councillor Olive Kamanyana (Carrefour-de-l'Hôpital district) regarding the hiring process (diversity, representation of demographics, equitable access to higher management positions), Linda Brouillette explained the recent addition of a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity position within the City and a concrete action plan (including diversity partners) that will soon be presented to City Council.
Proud of the work done during this first conceptualisation phase, Simon Rousseau notes: "The General Management team wanted to adopt an innovative model that would respond to the organisational issues of the coming years. [...] This vision will also have the effect of encouraging the city's departments to work together and to gain in efficiency with this approach that favours organisational transversality". As for the estimated time frame before the model is fully effective, Gatineau's Director General explains: "There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we are confident that our approach will allow us to adjust along the way, while fine-tuning each step.”. The Mayor of Gatineau, France Bélisle, also expressed her satisfaction with the work that has been undertaken: "With the arrival of our new Director General, I am pleased to see a new administrative structure proposal centred on the needs and expectations of citizens, who are at the heart of our concerns. Aligned with the priorities, this structure will also help to establish a clear distinction between the roles and responsibilities of municipal officials and elected representatives. With this reorganisation, we have provided ourselves with an effective structure to achieve the objectives of the municipal council's program.
Photo caption: (left to right) Simon Rousseau, Olive Kamanyana and Linda Brouillette at the preparatory meeting of the committee of the whole on September 20, 2022
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ville de Gatineau