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Byron Shire
April 13, 2021

Who really runs our councils?

Latest News

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 7 April, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 7 April, 2021

The local chatterati are much exercised by issues such as as potholes and parking and are quick to burst into print.

So when informed ex-staffer Alan Dickens revealed an apparent gross and costly imbalance between staff numbers and workload in the water and sewerage operation of Byron Council (Letters, July 1), I expected an indignant response.

Not a sausage.

Unfortunately the water/sewerage area is not the only part of Council which could do with close examination of its organisation and management performance.

During my eight years on Council I spent a great deal of effort endeavouring to shine some light into the arcane depths of staff organisation and activity. In this I was aggressively resisted by the GM, some councillors and a couple of union reps, but succeeded in forcing a few changes – which I doubt have survived my departure.

Councillors do not have the right to micro-manage staff but they are responsible for overall governance in much the way a board sits in a company structure. Most general managers have little difficulty in sidelining poorly informed councillors and run things to suit themselves. This means keeping a lid on industrial strife (at any cost to the ratepayer) while they see out their lucrative tenure.

As a ‘board of management’ Byron councillors have a lot in common with that of the Commonwealth Bank.

You may not like the potholes but what about the issues that really cost?

Tom Tabart, Bangalow


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