Bega Valley Shire Council to reduce senior management roles

A new senior management structure has been approved for Bega Valley Shire Council.

Seven councillors voted in favour of the changes during the November 22 meeting, which council said will “see it better able to meet its current and future financial constraints”. 

The new structure will consist of three main directorates, each headed by a director, with all three reporting to general manager Leanne Barnes.

One director will be responsible for assets strategy, projects, works, water, sewer, waste, recreation and leisure, another responsible for planning and sustainability, economic strategy and projects, community and cultural assets, community connections and support, while the third will oversee governance and organisational planning, finance and reporting, certification and compliance, and internal services.

Councillors Cathy Griff and Jo Dodds were the only to vote against the motion raised by Cr Tony Allen and Cr Mitchell Nadin.

“Following recent resignations and retirements, the option to reconsider restructuring was embraced, providing an opportunity to review the organisations effectiveness, and look for ways to work better together for the community,” council said in a statement.

“Council currently operates in a ‘no above rate pegging increase’ environment, and it is essential that the organisation continually review its structure to ensure alignment with the Delivery Plan, but also so it can manage itself within its budget parameters.

“The general manager and senior management team will now work with staff over the coming months to design how the rest of the organisation will work under the three directorates, making sure that the financial and resourcing requirements are met.”

Council said “while no positions will be lost, there is the potential for a number of changes and realignment of functions”.  

“Council will continue to provide support to affected employees through the change process,” council’s statement said.

The organisation currently has two acting directors in Ian MacFarlane and Keith Tull, following the recent departure of both Andrew Woodley and Terry Dodds.

Councils will be able to increase the revenue they collect from rates by up to 2.3 per cent in the next financial year under the rate peg announced on Wednesday by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.

Councils wanting to increase their revenue by more than the rate peg need to apply for a special variation.

IPART chair Dr Peter Boxall said next year’s rate peg is higher than the previous two years due to increases in labour costs, electricity and street lighting charges, and higher construction costs for roads, drains, footpaths, kerbing and bridges. 

“The Local Government Cost Index increased by 2.3 per cent in the year to September 2017,” he said.

“Since the rate peg applies to general income in total, and not to individual rate assessments, it is up to each council to determine whether to apply the allowed increase in full and how to allocate the increase between households, businesses and other ratepayer categories. 

“Similarly, if councils want to increase their revenue by more than the rate peg they will need to consult with their communities before applying to IPART for a special variation.”