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GNWT mulls merging departments

Northern News Services
Friday, May 27, 2016

The territorial government considering a merger between the departments of Transportation and Public Works and Services in an effort to save money, Yellowknifer has learned.

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Sandy Kalgutkar: deputy secretary to the financial management board, confirmed the government is considering a merger between the departments of Transportation and Public Works as a cost-saving measure.

The GNWT is considering a new and amalgamated Department of Infrastructure, stated Sandy Kalgutkar, deputy secretary to the financial management board, in e-mail yesterday, adding many other jurisdictions have gone this route.

"Work is being done now to assess whether restructuring makes sense in today's environment," wrote Kalgutkar.

"Most governments regularly review their organizational structure to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness. All attempts will be made to ensure that as few staff as possible are impacted. All spending is being reviewed. The goal is to constrain expenditures in a way that minimizes the impact on citizens and the critical programs they rely upon."

Operations and maintenance spending for the Department of Transportation was budgeted at $119.4 million in the 2015/16 budget. Public Works has a budget of $120.7 million.

The total GNWT main estimates budget amounted to $1.6 billion.

Kalgutkar would not say exactly how many jobs could be affected by such a merger.

He did state that any amalgamation process will take several months to complete and no restructuring would be implemented until the 2017/18 fiscal year. At this point, all government spending is being reviewed, stated Kalgutkar.

"This includes ... the types of programs and services we provide and the way those programs are implemented," wrote Kalgutkar. "All of this is in the planning stages and must be presented to cabinet and MLAs for approval."

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