Chris Oldfield, Naracoorte Community News
Recently elected mayor Patrick Ross has hit the ground running, meeting one-on-one with CEO Trevor Smart and various managers within the Naracoorte Lucindale Council.
“I just thought I needed to speak with the various heads (of departments),” Mr Ross said.
In addition to Mr Smart, the managers included Alex Edmonds from finance, Jayne Miller and Josie Collins from community engagement, Daniel Willsmore and Karl Manarangi from infrastructure and operations, and Paul McRostie from planning and compliance.
“I just asked each of them to fill me in on where we are at – what they were doing and what their job descriptions were and what their various departments looked like when it comes to staffing and some of the budgets – their allocation,” Mr Ross said.
“I asked Alex to furnish me with some historical data over the last four years, just to give us an indication of what has happened over the last four years.
“I just need to be brought up to speed on some topics, and so there are things they will get back to me on.”
Mr Ross said he would further speak with Mr Willsmore and Mr Managangi about an appropriate time to speak with outdoor staff.
“I was fascinated though, I think the total number of staff is about 75, and I think they mentioned about 27 were outdoor staff of which five were gardeners,” Mr Ross said.
“The councillors may like to have a discussion around that. All of the new councillors may not be aware of the staffing. Some people are on full time, and there are some (part time).”
Mr Ross said in the modern world, people worked their times around having families and commitments, so he did not have a problem with that so long as in the end “the job gets done’.
A part of council was its social program and community welfare. Mr Ross said a wellbeing coordinator was 100 percent funded by the State Government until the end of September 2023.
In addition to speaking with the heads of departments, Mr Ross said he had emailed each of the councillors to congratulate them on their election.
He also emailed them the 2018 agenda and minutes from the first meeting of the last council “to give them some idea of what was coming up”.
Mr Ross said one of those things included the election of a deputy mayor – although it was not a legal requirement, and the presiding member could choose whether or not to have a deputy mayor.
“I think there will be a deputy mayor, I like to deputise, and that happens quite early in the (November 30) meeting,” Mr Ross said.
“Then of course, we have the filling of various committees, and Saturday (November 26) we have a full day of induction training – during which time we’ll be able to discuss with the councillors whether they have a preference or desire to be involved in any of those particular committees.
“Some of those would be Section 41 committees I would imagine.”
Regarding council “working groups”, Mr Ross said during his meetings with council management he had been advised by the administration that “working groups are really valuable for directors to be able to have very open discussion with councillors around the issues or topics they wish to talk about without taking up time within the council chamber.”
This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.