Gov't jobs up for grabs in rural N.S. following decentralization
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2012 7:19PM ADT
Jobs aren’t often easy to find in small towns, but 60 government jobs are up for grabs in four communities in rural Nova Scotia.
The jobs are being moved from Halifax in an effort to decentralize government, but many of the people in those positions don’t want to move with them.
Postings for the first ten jobs were listed in newspapers on the weekend – a result of Premier Darrell Dexter’s decision to decentralize three departments.
Almost 60 people from the departments of agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture have to be replaced, but some union members and opposition leaders are worried about the loss of expertise.
“We need to fill 28 positions in our agriculture department and we need to fill 31 in fish and aquaculture,” says Brett Loney, spokesman for the provincial fisheries and aquaculture department. “We’ve had some positive responses already.”
The government announced in the spring that about 95 jobs in agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture and maintenance enforcement would be moved out of Halifax but many of the workers were not willing to move.
“Sixty-five decided not to follow their work so there are jobs being created,” says Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union.
“This was our concern from the very beginning,” says Nova Scotia Liberal leader Stephen McNeil. “How much bigger is the bureaucracy going to get from this move?”
However, Jessome says there will be no expansion of the civil service.
She says 18 workers have already found new jobs in government and a dozen more have something in the works.
Loney says there are costs associated with moving employees and opening offices, but they have not yet been calculated.
“We’re working through the process of who’s agreed to move and who’s not agreed to move…our costs of recruiting,” says Loney.
“That is one of the concerns we had from government, what is it going to cost in terms of relocation, not just the physical structure,” says McNeil.
However, of greatest concern to Jessome and McNeil is the loss of expertise and Loney concedes there will be problems.
“Obviously we’re going to have some challenges, some transitional issues,” he says. “We’re confident we can fill these positions and we’re seeing some good people apply.”
McNeil say he doesn’t oppose moving some departments to rural areas, but says the moves haven’t been well executed.
Loney says the new offices will be up and running by the end of the year but it may be some time after that before all the costs are calculated.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Rick Grant