IN the confirmed internal organisational re-structure of South Gippsland Shire Council which will take effect from November 1, there will be four ‘service’ Directorates, so titled to emphasise that the organisation’s top operational priority is customer service.
“They are not just names, we are all here to provide services by means of a whole-of-organisation approach,” Chief Executive Officer and author of the new structure, Tim Tamlin underlined.
From the current situation of three Directorates – Sustainability, Corporate/Community and Infrastructure, Council will move to four Directorates – Engineering Services, Development Services, Community Services and Corporate Services.
As a consequence, the positions of Sustainability Director – held by Andrew McEwen -and Corporate/Community Director – currently Dirk Holwerda – have been made redundant, though Chief Executive Officer Tim Tamlin has “encouraged” them to apply for the new positions.
The current eight Managerial positions will be re-adjusted so they sit on the same level as 10 Coordinator roles, giving a more direct line of communication between the top and the bottom of the organisation, and greater acknowledgement to several specialised areas, ranging from property development to aged and disability services.
With the shuffling of managerial responsibilities designed to put the most relevant work areas together and to support Council’s future directions in community planning and infrastructure expansion, the new Managers will be ‘Information Services’, ‘Finance’, ‘Governance/Corporate Support’, ‘Strategic and Statutory Planning’, ‘Engineering’, ‘Infrastructure Maintenance’, ‘Assets’, and ‘Community Strengthening and Emergency Management’.
Therefore, the existing positions of ‘Manager Social and Economic Development’, ‘Manager Family Services’ and ‘Manager Environment and Community Safety’ have also been made redundant.
These first two roles are currently held by Peter Sharpe and Linda Jamieson, while the third has been vacant since Philippa O’Halloran resigned to go and work at Bass Coast Shire.
Mr. Tamlin added that cross-departmental Strategic Project Teams will make the issues of sustainability, customer service, community engagement and organisational communication “something we should all do daily regardless of department” rather than being matters only dealt with by a specific section.
While acknowledging that the changes are ‘hard’ and ‘challenging’, Mr. Tamlin said the four directorates and easier lines of communication were unanimously supported by staff during the extensive internal consultation process, with more than 130 submissions being made prior to the draft structure and only positive comments received after the draft structure was announced.
“No one said they disagreed with the position redundancies though there were some mutually exclusive alternatives put forward that cancelled each other out,” he said.
“There were also a number of operational suggestions made, particularly by the outdoor staff, which I plan to address, including traineeships and succession planning.”
The current structure will remain in place up until October 31, which will give time to plan for a smooth transition.
In the interim, the Directors’ positions will be advertised, with Mr. Tamlin allowing plenty of time for recruiting, interviewing and giving notice.
Some of the other new positions such as Manager Assets and Coordinator Property Development will be advertised and appointed as soon as possible.
However others such as the vacant Manager Strategic and Statutory Planning and other re-organised or new positions will not be advertised until the Directors are in place so that they can be involved in the recruitment selection process.
Existing staff will carry out these jobs in an acting capacity until positions are finalised.
At present, staff who have been made redundant are not commenting publicly on their future plans or current feelings.
Mr. Tamlin advised that even with the redundancy payouts taken into consideration, the changeover would be cost neutral and completed in the current financial year.
In future years, he anticipates staff savings would be put back into improving service delivery.
He concluded, “We have a great team of people working here and I am keen to create an environment where staff can feel empowered and engaged in the future growth of the organisation.
“This approach will give staff a better understanding of the impacts of their work on other departments, and our customers.
“I’m confident that it will be a win-win situation, with the public receiving better service and staff increasing their career skills in the process, through a structure that is resilient and responsive to the needs of our community.”
Mr. Tamlin foreshadowed that the new organisational chart would be available on Council’s web site when it takes effect in November.
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