Chestermere City Council approved Policy 848, the Compensation During an Emergency Event Policy during the Dec. 15 Regular Meeting of Council.
“Throughout 2020 we have ran an extended emergency with the Emergency Command Centre (ECC) operating in a State of Local Emergency for 14 weeks. During this time the city services and operations continued, and staff entered into new roles in the ECC,” said the Director of Community & People, Tracey Radloff.
Adding, “Policy 848 proposes timely recognition, for the ECC positions during an emergency, recognizing that operating in an emergency creates an extraordinary burden.”
The policy proposes a premium to be paid for ECC positions for a State of Local Emergency and core positions leading an emergency operation to surround a State of Local Emergency, referred to as an Emergency Readiness Status.
The Emergency Readiness Status is a heightened emergency management period where the Chestermere Emergency Management Agency (CHEMA) is engaged by the Emergency Advisory Committee that is operated by council members.
“The rationale for this policy is to recognize that the ECC positions bare additional duties from the primary position,” Radloff said.
“Providing this recognition would encourage participation and acknowledge the exceptional governance required during an emergency event,” she said.
The policy is expected to provide recognition for staff fulfilling ECC roles which will allow the city to avoid or reduce the costs of seeking external supports during an emergency.
“The premium is to recognize the additional responsibilities assumed based on a position hierarchy as a level of complexity as roles increase and includes the director and deputy directors of emergency management,” Radloff said.
“This is payable only during an emergency event, or Emergency Readiness State, this is not an ongoing increase,” she said.
Adding, “Emergency readiness, and State of Local Emergency both require regular and consistent emergency management activities, engagement, and a council decision to get there.”
The funding for the policy is anticipated to be covered through disaster recovery plans where available. If no funding is available and the emergency creates an exceptional circumstance the city would request funds from the Personnel Restricted Surplus Account.
Council also approved a one-time impact of a stipend payment for staff that worked in the ECC in 2020 in recognition of their contributions.
The stipend will be funded by the Municipal Operating Support Transfer program.