Municipal Property Assessment Corporation: MPAC

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Impact Issue 3: News for OPSEU members at MPAC from your leadership team

Volume 12, Issue 3 • October 12, 2012

Provincial meeting leaves more questions than answers

On September 12, 2012, MPAC management held its first province-wide meeting in Toronto to roll out their next four-year strategic plan. Management outlined some new partnerships and efficiencies that are supposed to save the corporation $20 million over the next four years.

Like the large majority of our members, we enjoyed the opportunity to interact with colleagues from around the province and catch up with old friends. However, it quickly became apparent that many of the planned “changes” MPAC is proposing would not only have the potential for a serious negative impact on our members, but would also have to be negotiated with the union in the next round of bargaining.

Here are the items that have caused us the greatest concern:

What they said

During peak periods of the assessment cycle, the Corporation would like to hire part-time staff.  

Our reaction

The union is 100 per cent opposed to the concept of introducing part-time employees into our work force.

What they said:

Agreements allowing us access to data from land surveyors are being put into place.

Our reaction

The union is concerned that this type of partnership can potentially result in the loss of jobs at the LPU and parcelization co-ordinator level.

What they said

Partnership with developers and/or Tarion are in the works, thus making some property visits obsolete in the future.

Our reaction

We sincerely hope that the increased availability of property data will allow Property Inspectors to devote more time to conducting thorough sales investigations and meeting our commitments to the re-inspection cycle. However, a POTENTIAL side effect of such agreements is job losses for property inspectors.

What they said

Members will be able to take advantage of a flex-time policy.

Our reaction

This item was a highly ranked demand by our members in last pre-bargaining sessions. At the bargaining table, this demand was vehemently rejected by management, with the reasoning that this type of flexible work hour system carries large administrative costs. What has caused this change of heart on this issue?

What they said

Our real estate footprint is to be reduced.

Our reaction

Potential office closures could be contemplated.

What they said

PVAs and PVSs will require accreditation.

Our reaction

We hope that MPAC’s plan is to provide full funding through the education reimbursement policy including professional membership fees and full grandfathering or advanced standing for high seniority/ experienced members. However, this is an issue that must be collectively bargained and will be raised in our next discussions with management.

What they said

The next reassessment should be ready by the end of 2015 instead of the end of 2016.

Our reaction

That’s a full year ahead of schedule. Does management have a realistic plan to deal with this additional workload?

What they said

The fleet will be reduced; therefore some or all members will be required to use their personal vehicles when going into the field.

Our reaction

For the last couple of rounds of bargaining, MPAC didn’t want to negotiate an increase in the mileage rate for members using personal vehicles as they wanted us to use their fleet. With this change of policy, our mileage rate is inadequate considering the current costs of fuel, maintenance and additional insurance. This will also have to be addressed in bargaining.
 

MPAC Chair Dan Mathieson took fire from the Hudak Conservatives for the costs associated with holding such a meeting. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Mathieson said the Tories “rushed to judgment” condemning a cost-effective way of unveiling to staff its plans to streamline operations, sell office space, reduce field staff and fleet size and put more of its services on line. “In doing so, we’re going to realize $20-million savings over the next four years,” Mathieson said. “We consulted with some change management experts who said if you’re going to do this and you want to be successful in a pretty diverse organization — because you have a lot of geography here — your best bet is to get a lot of people together and lay the whole thing out for them.” 

While the plans may have been laid out, what remains murky is how the employer will actually implement them. Despite what Mathieson told the Sun, at no point did he mention at the meeting anything about selling office space, reducing field staff or putting more services online. What more isn’t he telling us?

If the employer asks you for your feedback on the meeting, please give it to them. Ask the tough questions and tell them your concerns.

We brought the union

In a fun, exciting, breathtaking and innovative exercise, each participant to the Sept. 12 meeting was given a package with three Lego blocks in it. We had to assemble the Lego blocks into a two-row wall (without detailed instructions!!) and write on the wall what we would “bring” to the meeting to help move the organization forward.

Was it excitement? Enthusiasm? Commitment?

Nope. We brought OPSEU. Because we’ve learned that it’s usually only through the union that we can get any movement at all. Yes, MPAC. The writing IS on the wall.

Kudos Korner

‘Reveal yourself, Satan!’

Kudos to the manager who brought his excitement and enthusiasm to the meeting and, during question period, decided to not ask a question at all. Instead, he took the opportunity to rant about how an employee leaked information about the meeting to the media. In his fervent opinion, said employee should be immediately terminated.

What this manager hoped to accomplish with this diatribe remains to be seen. Either we missed an actual question, or the manager just felt the need to grand-stand in front of his fellow managers. Either way, it was just the morale boost we were all looking for!

Unclear on the concept

At the MPAC meeting, the employer wants to explore more “work from home” arrangements in order to reduce office space and save money.

The same manager who has “leaking” issues is part of a one-year pilot project to work from home. Rumour has it, however, that he has asked MPAC to fund renovations for his home office.

We think this sort of conflicts with the concept of saving money.

Maybe he’ll also ask to have his driveway re-paved for proper employee parking.

Congratulations to a special GHN

Our warmest wishes go to our chair, David Lynch, and his new bride Catharine on their recent wedding. As you can see from the photo, Catharine’s “geeky, hot nerd” (her words, not ours) is a very happy and lucky man. Congratulations!

Stay in touch!

To ensure a speedy response to your questions, your leadership team has divided up all MPAC offices in the province. If you have a question or a comment, please contact the team member responsible for your office. Contact us by e-mail at work or at home, as follows:

David Lynch, Chair: Bracebridge, London, Mississauga, Ottawa, Barrie, Brockville, Cornwall, Pembroke, Trenton, Bancroft & Kingston

E-mail: opseu409@yahoo.ca ; david.lynch@mpac.ca

Peter McClenaghan, Vice Chair: St. Catharines, Goderich, Chatham, Sarnia, Windsor, Kitchener & Brantford

E-mail: pmcclenaghan2020@yahoo.com  ; peter.mcclenaghan@mpac.ca

Everett Kelly: Oshawa, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Toronto & Peterborough

E-mail: evkelly@rogers.com ; everett.kelly@mpac.ca

David Fong: North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie,

Timmins, Thunder Bay, Kenora, Fort Francis & Dryden

E-mail: visor243@nt.net ; david.fong@mpac.ca

Steve Kovacs: Milner (CCC, CPF, LPU), Owen Sound, Hamilton & Parry Sound

E-Mail: stevekovie@hotmail.com ; steve.kovacs@mpac.ca

Mirla Alvarado-Fenn, OPSEU Staff Negotiator

E-mail: malvarado@opseu.org

OPSEU ImpacT is produced by the Property Assessment Division of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president.

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