Change, renewal vital for our city

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Ballarat Courier 8 July 2015.

It is known former mayor John Burt, generic on behalf of the councillors, advised that the CEO’s contract had been renewed for two years in June 2013 on the proviso incumbent Anthony Schinck would leave the organisation at the end of this period, which would be January 2016.

There is now talk some councillors are reconsidering their previous position that Mr Schinck’s contract should not be renewed, and therefore I am concerned this backflip, as is the case with many of their other ill-informed decisions, would be detrimental to the future of Ballarat and the culture of Council as an organisation.

In my opinion, there needs to be an independent and transparent review of the CEO’s position that includes scrutiny of the current state of Council’s culture, which many believe has descended into one of arrogance and indifference.

Also, what must be taken into consideration is the number of decisions made by Council based on the advice of the CEO without consultation or consideration of the effects those decisions would have on the broader community.

As I mentioned previously, it would appear the culture and health of the organisation is questionable. What were the recent results of the employee opinion survey? Or, better still, when was the last independent process conducted by an external organisation into the culture of the council organisation? Word on the street suggests there is poor morale amongst the staff who are delivering the services of Council – the actual workers.

Therefore in stating all this, I simply ask what has been achieved for our community in the past nearly eight years under the current CEO’s watch? For the community, I venture to say not much. For vested interests, particularly in the real estate and developer arena, much more has been gained that has conveniently enhanced their profits with little, if any, regard for the effects these decisions will have on the community.

My last comment is to certain councillors and so called community leaders who are suggesting we have the best person for the CEO’s position considering there is an apparent poor pool of prospective candidates across the state from which to choose. I totally disagree with such a view. The pool of CEO talent is of a high calibre nationally.

To dispel the perception of poor leadership shown by councillors, I ask they advertise the position of the CEO so as to market test it to see if indeed we do have the best CEO. A thorough, transparent national search should be undertaken without any involvement of the previous employment agencies, consultants or council staff that were part of the recruitment process for the current CEO.

It has been recommended to council that it establishes a Ballarat eminent persons group with the appropriate skills to undertake the search and make recommendations to council. Council, of course, would make the final decision in determining who the best person would be to lead the organisation into the future.

Without prejudice, I must state a change of leadership would allow not only a chance to create a new organisational culture, but also provide a fresh pair of eyes to examine the internal systems and processes, and a new intellect to determine how things could be done more effectively.

Ballarat deserves the best, and best practice dictates that change and renewal is the future for our city council.

 

Ron Egeberg

Categories: Council
This post was written by , posted on August 29, 2015 Saturday at 9:01 am

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