Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads
Congratulations to David Lovejoy for his insightful editorial (4 August) about Byron Shire Council (BSC). He is spot on about the leadership vacuum.
The yet to be elected councillors need to be aware that the main arrow in their quiver is the business plan they submit. Councillors can then ask the General Manager (GM) to implement that business plan and the organisation must follow it. If staff and the organisation do not follow that plan then the General Manager is accountable to the councillors.
Councillors cannot be involved in the day-to-day operation of the organisation, ie approaching staff or directors. This is the GM’s job.
People also need to be aware of the 1993 LGA (local government area) restructure and what that entails. The main issue that was identified when that restructure was put together was (a) civil engineers do not necessarily make good managers, (b) there were too many levels of management and (c) people who were competent in their positions did not require numerous managers above them; they only needed accurate direction.
The restructure went through and was implemented in BSC because of the then GM and the then qualified HR manager. The wages staff supported this restructure 100 per cent.
As part of the restructure a consultative committee had to be formed, and on which all sections of Council had to be represented. This system worked quite well at BSC until the then GM and HR were pushed out. Since then BSC has progressively returned to the days prior to that 1993 restructure where we have a depth of management positions, and accountability for their performance, and sections appears not to exist.
The newly elected Council needs to revisit the values of the 1993 restructure. One of the most productive things they could do is to bring in a qualified HR consultant to look at the existing structure and question if it is efficient, productive and functioning in the best interests of the ratepayers and community.