Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads fear
A few weeks ago, the University of Toronto, the city, and the provincial government were all abuzz about the return to public service plans of City Manager Peter Wallace and TTC CEO Andy Byford.
While the city had planned to have the two men return to the city’s top administration post, a Globe and Mail report yesterday morning suggested the move to head to the city rather than be the CEO of the TTC was more symbolic than anything else. Wallace is leaving the city to take an unspecified post in government, and the plan is there for Byford to take over as executive director of the TTC by the end of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2019.
The Globe piece, however, painted a picture of a city that’s in some ways unprepared for life outside of their own back offices. They cited the city’s lack of leadership training for newly hired staff, and the fact that they were forced to hire their friends from out of town rather than locally, with hiring of staff coming in lower than expected (by 50 per cent) and the city asking them to be on a work site a fraction of what the TTC expected, as some of the main drivers. “I think we need to have an honest conversation, and if we’re not going to change, then we’re not going to continue as a city,” Wallace said.
In response, the University of Toronto said in a statement that it would not be taking leave, a move that prompted several cities to announce they were also not going to be leaving their top positions.
Meanwhile, Omicron Software, a Toronto-based company that provides software and services to municipalities, said on Twitter that after speaking with the city, it is suspending its plans to open up its headquarters to the city if they do not change their leave policy.
“With Mayor Tory’s comments about Omicron, I’m suspending our plans to become a city with the city manager position if they do not change their leave policy for staff,” reads the statement. “If they follow through on their threat, I will cancel this deal for the city, and will make Omicron aware so that they can consider other options for the city when they next make public announcements