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Leeton Shire Council General Manager, Jackie Kruger, is proposing to enhance operational performance by reorganising the Council directorates from three to two, strengthening the organisation's management tier and introducing a range of business system improvements that will boost productivity and develop existing staff talent.
Currently Leeton Shire has three Directors covering corporate services, engineering and technical services, and environmental and planning services. Under the new structure, corporate will be combined with community services and engineering with environmental services. Economic development and corporate communications will continue to report directly to the General Manager.
The two new directorships will be classified as 'senior staff' on 5 year performance based contracts. The 'senior staff' contracts will be advertised externally as required under the Local Government Act. Current Council staff are able to apply.
Having been in the role of General Manager for 18 months, Mrs Kruger has had the opportunity to thoroughly examine the operations of the Council along with the senior management team. She considers that enhancing the organisation's management and leadership capability and improving business systems is crucial if Leeton Shire Council is to sustainably deliver on community expectations while ensuring long term fiscal responsibility.
"Community and Council continue to call for higher levels of service and greater accountability. Given the tight financial environment and a workforce that is already showing signs of strain, it has become clear that endeavouring to do today's jobs with yesterday's methods, and still believing that we will be in business tomorrow, is short sighted. Something has to change and I'm recommending that step one is updating our staff structure and operational systems to suit our current business needs."
The revised structure is estimated to cost an additional $320,000 per annum but this will be offset by new found savings in key areas such as insurance and from slightly increased contributions from Council’s Waste, Water and Sewer towards operational costs.
“I wish to be clear that the funds required will not be at the expense of any current service levels or any FFF savings to date. The funds we’ve identified are coming from fresh operational savings and from more equitably reallocating corporate and governance costs across Council’s various activities."
Mrs Kruger has been consulting with both councillors and staff about her plans.
"Councillors have impressed on me to run Council like a business - with high performance, high productivity and excellent customer service. They want Leeton to be an attractive place to live, work and play and they want everyone to know that Leeton is 'open for business'. I get a sense that the Councillors are willing to invest up front to give the team the best chance to achieve the long term goal. It's a bit like revitalising a business- sometimes you need to spend a bit extra at the start to take the business to that next level and operate sustainably into the future".
No staff will be out of a job in the proposed reorganisation of Leeton Shire Council with sufficient vacancies available in the management tier for any current directors not successful in gaining a new director role or preferring to be closer to day to day operations.
Mrs Kruger considers the changes to be essential if Council wishes to be Fit For the Future both financially and operationally.
"The revised structure will enhance our strategic and analytical capability, spread the workload more fairly, foster a culture of continuous improvement and sharpen our accountability. If we don't do this we can still attempt to drive through financial goals but that will be at the expense of service delivery standards and the wellbeing of our staff".
Mrs Kruger's report will be considered by
Council at its ordinary meeting on 22 February 2017.
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