The city’s workforce is set to expand by 447 employees this year, despite Mayor Rob Ford’s election promise to cut back the public service.
Most of the additional jobs — 405 — are for capital projects, such as modernizing the Pape and Dufferin subway stations. The city’s day-to-day operations shed 470 positions, but proposes adding 518, which makes for a net increase of 48 positions, or 0.1% over last year’s operating budget. Staffing in the water, solid waste and parking authority budgets shrunk.
The bulk of the new positions are for the Toronto Transit Commission.
If approved, the combined operating, capital, water, solid waste and parking budgets would hike temporary and permanent positions to 53,336 positions, up from 52,888 in 2010, according to documents the city released Monday.
“I think we might be witnessing the Mayor getting hoisted on his own petard,” said Councillor Shelley Carroll, the former budget chief and among the most vocal critics of this year’s proposed budget cuts during budget deliberations Monday.
During the election, Mr. Ford promised to reduce the size of government by 3% each year, which he said represented half of the attrition rate. He estimated that would save $67.62-million in 2011, and more than $1-billion over his four-year term. City Manager Joseph Pennachetti told reporters this month that the attrition rate is actually closer to 3%.
Ms. Carroll said every year the city has to hire, whether it be for the TTC because of ridership growth, or in other departments that have to deliver a program that is mandated by the province. In that case, the province picks up a large chunk of the cost.
City council will vote on all of this year’s budgets by the end of February.
Asked about the hike in staff, Adrienne Batra, Mayor Ford’s press secretary, said “this is the first budget. We will have a lot more opportunities in the 2012 budget, because we will have more time, and we will be looking at all sorts of things, including attrition and alternative service delivery.”
Members of the Mayor’s executive say this is an improvement over previous years. In 2009, the city’s day-to-day operations swelled by more than 1,000 people over the previous year. It jumped by 290 in 2010, compared with this year’s 48.
“It will take some time before we can go through a budget process or two, on our own, to get these numbers down. But I would suggest that  is probably 20 times less than the number of people who were hired last year, and it’s certainly going in the right direction,” said Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday.
“I don’t know about the Mayor’s promises. During the election you sometimes do make promises that, later on, the information that comes forward doesn’t make it possible to follow.”
Among the other staffing increases in city operations are 42 positions, funded entirely through user fees, for the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, which reopened late last year.
The TTC plans to reduce permanent positions by 116, but will be increasing its operator, IT and maintenance complement by 337, for a net increase of 221 positions. An additional 376 positions are in its capital budget.
Councillor Doug Ford, the Mayor’s brother and vice-chair of the budget committee, maintains there are ways to shave costs at the TTC, which will undergo an operations review by an “outside company.”
“They’re going to be targeted like we’ve never seen before. There’s going to be some big changes on the TTC.”
what the fuck? Didn’t you get elected to make massive cuts and save the city money?