Interest has been strongly expressed by the District of North Vancouver to merge with the City of North Vancouver. This idea may have merit although it currently lacks clear and measurable goals, and a sound process to rationally explore the pros and cons of merging.
What is needed is an independent and qualified third party to assist the parties to assess the following types of information:
- Facilitate mutually acceptable goals;
- Prepare a consistent and comprehensive financial picture of the operational and capital status of both parties including taxation rates;
- Identify similarities and differences in policies and standards; l Compare staff structures, work roles and expertise, numbers and employee demographics, and,
- Evaluate information systems and applications for similarities and differences.
The process also has to assess the relationship between the parties. A solid foundation of trust and a reasonable history of working together has to exist for a successful merger.
There needs to be a willingness to systematically assess and evaluate based on mutually accepted information. A process to address and resolve differences is also vital.
Merging is not only about reducing councillors, mayors and management, it is also about finding opportunities to improve services and productivity within the same (or fewer) resources.