TWO Victorians and a New Zealander have been appointed to the three new Directors’ positions that have been created by the recent organisational restructure of South Gippsland Shire Council.
Council’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Tamlin said he was very pleased with the field of candidates that applied for the positions, and reported that the recruitment consultants found “the line up to be comparable to [that attracted by] a metropolitan council.”
The first new Director to start work will be Phil Stone as Director of Development Services, who will commence on October 25.
He will head up Council’s planning, building, economic development and tourism sections (including Visitor Information Centres) plus Coal Creek Community Park and Museum.
Mr. Stone, who holds a Diploma in Business Administration and Systems Information, has been employed for the last five years as Baw Baw Shire’s Director Planning and Information Services, carrying responsibility for information technology, business information, planning and regulatory matters.
Citing “leadership is my forte”, Mr. Stone said he had “learnt a lot about planning in the last five years” and was “superficially” aware of South Gippsland’s major planning issues through the Gippsland Local Government Network and between-municipalities interaction with the Shire’s planning staff.
Although he has not had experience with coastal planning issues, Mr. Stone anticipates “synergy in his experiences between Baw Baw’s and South Gippsland’s planning issues in terms of dwellings on rural land, residential growth of towns, economic development and more”.
Mr. Stone added, “I have found a passion for planning for the future and big visions.”
Given Mr. Stone’s information technology specialty, South Gippsland’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Tamlin also expects Council’s Planning Department to improve its use of the latest land use systems software and online options.
While currently proposing to continue living in Warragul with his family, Mr. Stone smiled, “If my wife has her way, we might be moving here given the comments she made about the beauty of the area when we visited here yesterday!”
NEW STRUCTURE GOES LIVE
On November 29, the balance of the new organisational structure will “go live” as June Ernst takes up the role of Director Corporate Services and Jan Martin becomes Director Community Services.
Both women have previously worked with CEO Tim Tamlin at the City of Greater Dandenong, although Ms Martin said she was recommended to apply for the job by employment consultants she had contacted to assist her with finding work in Australia, and at the time she didn’t realise Mr. Tamlin had moved to South Gippsland.
Currently the Manager Governance and Customer Service with the City of Greater Dandenong, June Ernst (who is no relation to Council’s L2P program Coordinator John Ernst), has a Masters of Business Administration (Technical Management).
She explained her qualification focused on information technology, finance, organisational development and strategic planning.
As Director Corporate Services, Ms Ernst will be in charge of Council’s finance, information systems, customer service, governance, corporate support and human resources.
Linking her interests in finance and strategic planning, Ms Ernst said she is looking forward to working with Director Infrastructure Anthony Seabrook on Council making the most of the new Asset Management software, noting “we’ve already talked about it”.
She is also keen to help individuals and teams become “empowered to be the best they can be” and described herself as a fan of cross-departmental team work because “it brings more balanced results and shared outcomes”.
A Cranbourne resident, Ms Ernst said she had some familiarity with south and east Gippsland through her work with local government groups such as the Municipal Association of Victoria, LG Pro and her governance work.
“I love the regional/rural approach to the creative use of limited resources because it brings out innovative ideas,” she said.
Ms Ernst also has a link to South Gippsland through her father Graeme Reader, who has just retired from driving milk tankers through the region.
Jan Martin is moving from New Zealand to South Gippsland to take on the position of Director Community Services – and also to be nearer family in Victoria.
She has worked for the last six years as Group Manager Community Services and Development with South Taranaki District Council.
In South Gippsland, Ms Martin will be responsible for the areas of community strengthening, emergency management, community safety, aged, disability and family services, early years, recreation, sustainability, environmental health, waste and wastewater management.
Ms Martin has worked in rural and metropolitan local government, and appreciates both the pride rural people have in their communities and the commitment to volunteering.
“It’s about engaging people so everyone pitches in, developing lots of networks and increasing people’s ability to self-achieve.
“Country people are superb and rural communities have a whole different way of operating,” she reflected.
Ms Martin has an Associate Diploma in Welfare Studies.
Her previous experience has focused on community services, especially in the aged care sector.
EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Together, the CEO and four Directors will comprise an Executive Leadership Team, which Mr. Tamlin anticipates “will be stable for some time”, in contrast to the quick staff turnover across the senior level at South Gippsland in recent years.
“Part of our organisational development will be to encourage leadership in all roles across Council,” he envisioned.
Mr. Seabrook said he was looking forward both to providing his background of 11 years experience of South Gippsland issues and communities with the other Directors and to combining their shared skills to achieve really good outcomes for the Shire.
Councillors and Council staff met the three new Directors during an informal mingle and chat over afternoon tea last Friday.
When asked about past experience answering questions put by the public at Council meetings, both Mr. Stone and Ms Ernst have had some experience where the questions were submitted before the meeting and read out by a staff member, and answers were either provided on the spot or at a later date.
Ms Martin admitted that she has not had any previous experience of a public question time.
When Mr. Stone commences later this month, the position of Director Sustainability, currently held by Andrew McEwen, will become redundant.
Mr. Tamlin acknowledged Mr. McEwen’s “passion for sustainability” and advised that he was yet to discuss details with Mr. McEwen of how he could “continue to work closely in some capacity with the Sustainability and Environmental Teams to develop a sustainable future for the Shire.”
Mr. McEwen and his wife Maggie Loughrey – who is Council’s Manager Organisational Development – are in the process of building a home in Meeniyan.
Mr. Tamlin said that he had advised Mr. McEwen (who had signaled his intention to apply for the job of Director Development) of the new appointments on September 27, and had informed Council staff on September 28.
When asked if the loss of the position of Director Sustainability meant that Council was reducing its concentration on sustainability topics, Mr. Tamlin disagreed and stated that sustainability and environmental planning would “still carry the same weight” and was on the same level as Waste Management, Economic Development and other teams within Council.