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Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

Fish disaster

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Cr Michael Lyon, The Pocket

Regarding the Tallow fish kill and my dismay at the attacks Dailan made on staff regarding the event. The main point is that when managing an organisation, admonishing and blaming staff for mistakes, rather than ensuring they are focused on the solutions and getting it right, is not how to foster a productive and safe work environment. It is not how to encourage good staff to come and work for you either.

Let’s look at the alternative being called for, which is to institute disciplinary action, a show of strength to let staff know what’s what, fire them, for making this mistake, or prosecute them, as Dailan requested. What about their work on so many other projects? What if that work is sound, or even exemplary? What would the cost to Council be of losing the experience across these areas, and of retraining, hiring and the impact on staff culture of such a decision? Doesn’t matter? This is all notwithstanding what we could actually do legally, which would not be much in this instance.

Part of the councillors’ role is to ensure that all aspects of an organisation are sound and running smoothly, including the staff culture. It is also our role to own the mistakes, which we did at the Council meeting that received the report on the fish kill. Lessons have been learnt, and our focus has been on getting it right in the future – not finding a scapegoat – so as to ensure a more robust process that better meets community expectations.


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1 COMMENT

  1. Yes we know that you are used to a managerial role, Cr Lyon, but your statement that: ‘The main point is that when managing an organisation, admonishing and blaming staff for mistakes, rather than ensuring they are focused on the solutions and getting it right, is not how to foster a productive and safe work environment’ shows an insufficient grasp here and too easy acop out.

    You see they are not your staff, they our our staff. They are not retail assistants but (those involved) highly paid public officials who should have an intimate knowledge of the guidelines and legislation under which they operate. A good working relationship between elected councillors and Council officials is paramount but, as our elected representative, your role is simultaneously to oversee the expectation and maintenance of the highest standards of operations.

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