More Senior Staff Leave Richmond Valley Council

In yet another ‘organisational review’, Richmond Valley Council is advertising for two ‘executive managers’ for Council, the two most senior posts after the General Manager.

According to the ad the two existing managers departed to take up “new roles” elsewhere.

It seems odd  that the two most senior managers have left council at roughly the  same time without apparent warning, and not all that long after one of them was hired by the General Manager.

Derek Swanborough is one of the senior staff members who has left council for a ‘new role’ elsewhere.  Prior to coming to Richmond Valley he was an elected councillor at The Scenic Rim Regional Council in Queensland.

Both have gone before Council’s Audit has been finalised for 2013-2014.

The need for yet another organisational review is not clear.  Was it precipitated by the loss of staff or was it a restructure initiated by the general manager so that redundancies could be applied ?  Was there any use of legal services in the process?

We’ll probably never know what happened but the staff turnover at Richmond Valley Council has been quite considerable since the GM was hired by council via the LGSA.

Cost of Staff Changes to Ratepayers

Councillors should be asking the GM what the cost of these staff changes have been to ratepayers including redundancy costs, loss of productivity because of staff loss and the breaking in of new staff, holiday pay and other entitlements, advertising and selection costs, legal costs, and so on.

Loss and replacement of staff is a costly business for any organisation and Richmond Valley Council will be no exception here.

VWD had a chuckle about the ad when it was describing the kind of persons council was seeking to fill the two new posts: “…two exceptional leaders, full of strategic thinking…..”! Full of what?  Oh dear!

So councillors, let’s hear what the true costs have been of the loss and replacement of new staff including any legal costs incurred since the GM came to the Valley.  And let’s hear about their reasons for departure.  Perhaps we should ask for exit interviews to be made public!  Fat chance.

It’s not possible for the community to discover about legal matters and costs in a timely fashion as the GM has moved reporting on legal services to once a year, as he’s entitled to do by law, in the the Annual Report.

We used to hear every three months about legal matters but not anymore.  So much for accountability and transparency, alleged pillars of local government. Another, yet another indication of a secretive council.

Yes, council has a media officer and lots of stories about dead flying foxes but we are shut out of real information about council’s performance.

Councillors will no doubt be reminded that the running of council is none of their business and is in the gift of the GM should they ask any questions.   However, when there are potential ramification for the bottom line and the ratepayers pockets  they need to step up to the mark and ask the hard questions particularly during performance reviews but at other times as well.  It is in the public interest for us to know.


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