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City staff ‘working harder than ever,’ no layoffs planned: Deputy Mayor

Lisa Blackburn was one of 15 councilors to sign on to an open letter of support for staff that was released this week
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Halifax Regional Council (Victoria Walton/HalifaxToday.ca)

HRM Deputy Mayor Lisa Blackburn says many employees are working from home during COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean work isn’t getting done.

“The HRM is still running, we are a municipality that is still very much operational and still offering services,” she tells NEWS 95.7’s The Todd Veinotte Show.

The District 14 Beaver Bank Councillor was one of 15 councilors to sign on to an open letter of support for staff that was released Thursday by Councillor Waye Mason.

“In many cases, we have employees out there that are doing double duty working twice as hard as they would if they were sitting at their desks,” Blackburn says.

For any staff who are worried about whether their job is in jeopardy, Blackburn says they shouldn’t be worrying yet.

“I’m not sitting here today saying no, never ever,” she says. “But...if you are a full-time permanent employee of HRM you are going to be paid up to and including the May 6 pay deposit.”

The Deputy Mayor also says that while COVID-19 has taken center stage, other municipal services are still happening.

“We still have garbage collection, we will have buses on the roads. We still have planners are developers,” says Blackburn. “Something like 200 applications came in to Planning and Development just last week, so people are out there wanting our services and we are there to deliver them.”

At council last Thursday, the city addressed many items that weren't related to the pandemic, including tenders for new transit buses and discussing the approval of multi-unit developments.

“There are still real estate transactions that are taking place, there are still tenders that are going out, there are still people applying to do business,” Blackburn says. “So really it’s our job to make sure that we continue on as well as we can under the circumstances.”


Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

Victoria is HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor and a Halifax-based freelancer. She is originally from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
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