City council has unanimously supported a motion by Mayor Greg Dionne to craft a policy aimed at prioritizing local candidates when hiring for police and firefighting positions.
The mayor said the move was aimed at retaining young residents, as many people head South for work due to a lack of good-paying jobs in Prince Albert.
“I think this is an opportunity to show our city that we are committed,” Dionne said. “We have lots of local kids that I believe can meet the standards.”
The motion was expanded to include training at these and other city departments, though the mayor said it was important to ensure workers don’t take advantage of the training and then leave for other municipalities. In exchange for the training, Dionne said he would like to see the employees remain in the role for a set amount of time. Those who leave would be required to pay back a portion of what was paid out.
“We have departments where once they are trained and certified they will move back to the town where they came from,” he said. “I think it is important we review this, both with administration and the department heads, to come up with a policy."
Dionne has said he would like to see the initiative encompass all city positions, but starting with these departments would ease the rollout. He said the city still has to look beyond its borders sometimes, as higher-level positions carry more advanced education and experience requirements.
Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards was supportive of the move, saying the city need’s to protect local interests.
“Offering them an opportunity at these higher-paying jobs is very positive for the community of Prince Albert,” he said.
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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