Sarnia City Hall. September 2018 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Lobby kiosk to return

The kiosk reception desk will be reestablished in the lobby at Sarnia City Hall.

Mayor Mike Bradley broke a tie vote on Monday to recall a decision made by the prior council in December 2017.

Councillor Margaret Bird supported his motion.

“We need to get back to a really cheerful person who greets everybody on the phone, as well as physically when they come into the building,” said Bird.

She said she’s sat in the lobby watching people look around, not knowing where to go.

“We still have the kiosk, so we don’t have to buy a new one,” said Bird. “We don’t have to hire additional staff, because we can rotate as we did before, it worked very well and when it comes to the phone service, it hasn’t worked since day one. You can ask anybody in the city.”

Based on a report from staff, Councillor Nathan Colquhoun said he felt the cost to reestablish the kiosk was too high.

“Financially, we eliminated a full-time position at a savings of $83,000 when we removed the kiosk, which would need to be reinstated, and we’d spend another $8,500 in one-time costs to get it up and running,” said Colquhoun. “Further to these costs, it’s estimated another $19,000 would be on the table for productivity loss. To me, this is an unnecessary spending of taxpayer money.”

He said he believes workflow and efficiencies have gotten better since the kiosk was eliminated.

“We give better customer service with telephone automation, having four customer service rep’s in the room, right beside where the kiosk sat and have been able to amalgamate services that weren’t and wouldn’t have been available at that desk,” said Colquhoun.

Councillors Terry Burrell, Brian White and Mike Stark also voted against the motion.

It’s not known if a new full-time position will be created or if staff will be moved around to accommodate the post.