Parking decision puts event staff in reverse
By Joshua Budd
The University Students' Council event staff will be offering fewer jobs next year after learning this week their contract with parking services will not be renewed.
For the past three years, parking services has contracted work out to event staff for ticketing cars in university parking lots. Now the parking department has decided to hire its own staff.
Laura Cameron, chair of event staff, said she was planning on hiring 30 new employees for next year to replace employees who are leaving, but the loss of the parking contract means the number will be reduced to 20. Currently there are 65 event staff but Cameron said she expects the number to be 50 next year.
"The nice thing about parking was that it was steady and consistent work for people," Cameron said. "They could pay rent with it."
Event staff relied heavily on the parking contract to cover expenses and generate work in slow periods during the year. Cameron said it will be hard to replace such a large contract.
"We have other contracts that require a large staff but don't offer regular work in down times," said Trevor Telfer, next year's event staff chair. "It will mean a lot more single-night contracts and staff won't have any assurances what work they will be getting."
Dave Hill, manager of parking services, said the parking rates for next year are not going to be raised so he had to look for other ways to improve service.
Hill said he will be hiring the same amount of students to fill the positions but they will be hired directly through parking services and not through the USC event staff, adding the event staff performed their duties well. "There are limitations as to what you can achieve when you work through a third-party contract," Hill said. "They're all working part-time and there were complications in getting in touch with people.
"We want to manage people personally. We want to invest more time and effort in training people to bring them up to better standards."
Bob Klanac, marketing and services manager for the USC, said parking's decision came unexpectedly. "Given how long the relationship has been, it would have been better to receive earlier notice so we can prepare," he said. "Students are disappointed to lose a contract like this especially when there's been no reason given.
"We'd like to see them using services of student-run organizations," Klanac added. "We think it's consistent, given their role as a university operation, to use student services as much as possible."
Hill said he tried to arrange a meeting with Cameron before notifying them but he received no response.