28 OCTOBER 2010
PETITION TO MINISTER
With the support of over 2,000 community signatories, we have a
Petition in support of ERA’s submission to the Minister for
an Inquiry into the Eurobodalla Shire Council. An essential element
of this review will be a request to finance an independent externally
conducted audit of all aspects of Council operations – embracing
the Mayor, Councillors, General Manager and Senior Staff.
The present controversy
surrounding the General Manager’s large pay increase is symptomatic
of wide-ranging concerns we have of Council’s management processes.
In this case our complaint is not just centred on the actual pay
rise – it is the secrecy, lack of transparency, obfuscation,
and absence of straightforward information concerning the whole
News of the G.M’s
salary and bonus annual leave entitlements were released on or about
28 September when, in fact, the actual Review Committee met and
decided the matter on 21 June. The Review Committee comprised the
Mayor, Clrs. Vardon and Dance plus “an independent facilitator”
from the Local Government Shires Association, Management Solutions
For a start, our question
as to who the independent facilitator was, has been repeatedly brushed
aside at several levels. All we ask for is a name, to be sure it
was not Mr. Bruce Miller, who happens to be the President of the
Shires Association. The same Mr. Miller has ignored emails and phone
calls. He gave a gratuitous testimonial on ABC Radio after announcement
of the pay rise saying that G.M. Anderson deserved the pay bonuses
because he is one of the most highly regarded and competent General
Managers within Local Government. If Mr. Miller was not privy to
the Performance Indicators discussed at the Confidential Committee
Meeting, how could he know that the G.M. pay rise was justified?
When we asked the Local Government and Shires Association for information,
we were told “LGSA represents the Council, we cannot give
you any information.” So get that. Ratepayers fund the Council,
who use ratepayer money to pay large (secret?) subscriptions to
the LGSA, who refuse to simply give the name of one of their representatives
at a Eurobodalla Committee Meeting. How independent can this representative
In the second instance,
we asked for a copy of the Performance Indicators which were the
basis for assessing Mr. Anderson’s management performance.
We simply asked for the pro forma sheet, which is said to contain
50 points for appraisal – we did not ask for any information
or the confidential assessment ratings/comments which prompted the
Committee’s decision. Why would Council need to refuse to
supply this information? It is typical of an arrogant contempt for
community consultation and their policy of autocratic control. It
is also lamentable that we are compromised into airing these sorts
of matters, when open communication would make it unnecessary.
Councillor Vardon is
proposing even more Performance Indicators next year, to be added
to the present list of 50. More is better? The measurement of a
Chief Executive’s performance is difficult, but most large
organizations manage with a half dozen or so carefully chosen criteria.
A BIG thank you to all
those who made the effort to get signed Petitions back to us.
To those many tradespeople
and contractors who would not sign for fear of Council retribution,
the people who were worried about their D.A’s, the Council
employees terrified for their jobs, the local business owners who
did not want to upset certain Councillors – you are not alone,
but if we work together we CAN make a difference.
With your support we
WILL get openness and transparency into the management of this Council
and a return to a service-oriented culture.