June 25, 2018

One Muskoka comments on the Reviews

Gravenhurst Review Report

By Catherine King

January 30, 2012


In 2011 the consulting company COVENCO Ltd. (CVC) conducted a review of the Town of Gravenhurst ‘s organizational structure.  It was a high level review to gain understanding of the organization and its practices.  The focus was on cost of service, process and efficiency.

Some of their findings include:

  • Many employees are working on separate strategies that often conflict
  • Definite lack of detailed process and operational system elements
  • Staff have long service records which equates to loss of technical and corporate structure knowledge
  • No succession planning
  • Security and safety record issues
  • Things are still done manually
  • Poor relations between Planning and Building departments
  • Functions duplicated in many departments i.e. a number of different departments execute similar work using similar equipment
  • No records of historical volumes of services or activities performed
  • Fire department training is not to provincial standards
  • Structure not formally organized but developed over time into a number of stovepipe operations
  • Website requires complete overhaul


Some of their recommendations include:

  • Develop and implement a Management Operation System that would provide methodology for planning, reporting and measuring
  • Succession Planning
  • Town of Gravenhurst and other municipalities should immediately execute MOU for ITS
  • Seek other revenue sources other than property taxes
  • Use part time or contracted grant writer
  • Lower fees and ensure effortless processing and high service for end user  – ‘Open for Business’ attitude
  • Review HR regarding large number of seasonal workers and lower than average salaries
  • Reorganization of Town (renaming departments as functions and moving personnel and responsibilities)
  • Management needs strong support to further develop their skills
  • There needs to be a better understanding by citizens and councilors of what staff does
  • The negative perception of customer service, while improvements could be made, not realistically based


All levels of management and staff were interviewed.  Staff noted a feeling of disconnect between themselves, citizens and councilors.  The staff felt there is a lack of understanding in what they do and all funding decisions are made without in depth knowledge.


Regarding benchmarking CVC states “Gravenhurst has very few key performance indicators in place and when in place Business Areas are not accountable for tracking and meeting those targets – except for aggregate budgets.”


The review provided comparisons with 12 other similar municipalities including Bracebridge, Huntsville, Lake of Bays and Muskoka Lakes in 13 categories.  Charts and comparison will be an addendum at our next meeting.


Catherine King

January 30, 2012




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