City of Edmonton – Excessive Numbers of Managers Comparison (2015 vs 2019)

November 25, 2020

For Immediate Release:

Union Press Release: City of Edmonton – Excessive Numbers of Managers
Comparison– 2015 vs. 2019


  1. Union Report: City of Edmonton – Excessive Number of Managers – Comparison– 2015 vs. 2019 –November 24, 2020

The September 2020 City Auditor’s Report to the City’s Audit Committee and City Council advised the numbers of management staff have increased during the three-year period 2017-2019. The report’s findings include:

  1. A significant increase in the number of manager and supervisor Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) based on new union and non-union manager definitions created by the City Auditor’s Office; and
  2. A decreasing and very narrow span of control.

The report recommended a reduction in the number of City of Edmonton manager and supervisor jobs following a 21% increase over three years. Unfortunately, the report used atypical “manager and supervisor” definitions and implied a key problem was the number of union supervisors. CSU 52’s analysis based on five-years of FTE numbers found the City Auditor’s three-year report to be inaccurate for an “independent office” accountable to City Council. The report also mixed FTEs from other organizations (e.g., EPS, EPL, EEDC, etc.), when the analysis should focus on the increasing numbers of non-union managers in the Administration.

Using 2015 budget data and 2019 Open City Data, CSU 52 has identified management and union numbers over a 5-year period (see Attachment #1). The Union’s numbers show a completely different story. In fact the 2015-2019 analysis shows a 12.6% (21.0 FTEs) increase in senior managers (i.e., Directors and above) and a 23.4% (237.9 FTEs) increase in lower level management jobs (i.e., below a Director). The analysis also shows a 1.4% (385.5 FTEs) decrease in the number of union jobs. Unfortunately, the Administration excluded management, exempt and union FTEs numbers from the 2016-2019 budget data, which resulted in CSU52 using 2019 Open City Data published by the City.

The data shows the City Administration has deleted an estimated two union jobs for every new management job created in the last five years. The result is more management layers (i.e. a bigger bureaucracy), a much narrower span of control and fewer front-line services. Blaming the increasing number of management FTEs on the number of union supervisors is inappropriate and stretches the facts. We believe the Administration use of mixed FTE data from 2017 to 2019 is misleading.

CSU 52’s data (as obtained from City sources) shows the significant increase in the number of management FTEs is being paid for by the decreasing number of front-line union jobs. Fewer front-line union workers results in less service for residents and businesses. Challenges by the Chamber of Commerce and other groups, such Prosperity Edmonton, have focused on the higher costs of non-union managers, increasing property taxes versus population growth and cost of living. The 2015 versus 2019 data show these business organizations (and indeed all taxpayers) should be concerned about the increasing numbers of non-union managers and fewer unionized front-line services.

Best practice research and benchmarking indicates the City’s span of control should be a minimum of 1:10 to 1:20. These higher spans of control are much different than the City Auditor’s report (for the ratio of management to union FTEs). As an example, the City of Winnipeg has three quarters of the City of Edmonton’s population and only half as many managers. If City Council adopted the cost-saving recommendations from CSU 52, the City could save millions per year. The result would be fewer layers of management, wider spans of control and more front-line services. City Councils in the 1980’s and 1990’s eliminated the unnecessary fifth level of management and they saved millions.

City Council should understand market data from verifiable resources shows City managers, especially at senior levels (Directors and above), are over-compensated versus the market median for other large Canadian cities, especially when the greater number of programs and services provided by other cities are considered.

City Council’s actions must truthfully address the future and anything less than complete honesty and openness (by the Administration) will not meet the needs of residents and businesses for an efficient, effective and economical City. CSU 52 believes it is in the best interests of all citizens, including our members and taxpayers to reduce the bloated number of non-union managers. Wasting money on a top heavy and hierarchical management bureaucracy is not reasonable, nor responsible.


Lanny Chudyk
Civic Service Union 52

Union Report: 1. City of Edmonton – Number of Managers – 2015 Versus 2019 (For 5 years)


Download Union Press Release in PDF 


‘City of Edmonton Must Reduce Out-of-Scope Managerial Roles’ (September 11, 2020)

  1. I’m a firm believer in the union not being management positions. I’ve seen too many conflicts of interest in my time. I’m also a firm believer in providing services in an efficient and wholesome platform for the public and this should most definitely be done by front line union positions. It is very clear to me that the AB gov’t has declared “war” on unions in the province and the CoE should be the unions biggest supporter in these times. I don’t believe the CoE is our enemy, those supervisors and directors are our coworkers too. We should be supporting each other in this time of crisis not sacrificing each other to the fire.

    As a general statement I would say that CSU members don’t “need” to be micromanaged and a reduction of management in some areas is probably required but this shouldn’t be taken lightly or be based on arbitrary numbers (which I have seen presented at least 3 different ways). However, in my experience this is not necessarily the case in other areas of the CoE and the increase of front line managers in some operational areas is long overdue and could greatly increase efficiency and reduce waste.

    • Rebecca Menard says:

      Hi Christine
      Thank you for your continued support and exposure on this important issue. With City Council meeting tomorrow to discuss budget it’s important this issue continues to be discussed.

  2. Who was the news release sent to? I’m concerned that Councillor Nickel had this report and posted it on his social media before CSU 52 did. No other City Councillor posted about it on November 25. This looks bad for the Union, showing close ties with one (fairly controversial) Councillor, especially with less than one year to a municipal election.

    • Rebecca Menard says:

      Hi Anna
      This report was sent to all Councillors a day in advance of it being released to media and posted to our website. There was no preference given to Councillor Nickel.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly that a complete overhaul is needed in the city of Edmonton management. Let’s try to get. things back on the right track when we have the election next year. WAY TO MUCH WASTE in the city that is taking place now.

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