Secrecy is the instrument used to hide exposure of bureaucratic bungling, ineptitude, mismanagement and downright incompetence.
We believe that secrecy is also the much valued friend of far more sinister practices.
We regard the South Gippsland Shire Council’s continued refusals to provide important details using generalisations as a means to avoid scrutiny and accountability.
Many organisations take pride in providing comprehensive financial and operational details to account for the use of scarce ratepayers’ money. We find this council is seriously out of touch with such sentiments.
Mr Mayor, we hereby request the following information:
In printed format handed to us without qualifications: An employee position establishment schedule, by individual position, by hierarchical progression such as by department and directorate, culminating in a total number of employees by position and ultimately, by full time equivalent numbers.
Residents and ratepayers must be able to see all available positions, where they are employed, and the overall hierarchy structure. Common sense dictates the community must be able to see any position when required. Why is this not available already?
This schedule is also of utmost importance to assist ratepayers to assess and evaluate the council’s expenditure in relation to employee costs of $25.8 million.
This is a massive expenditure, in particular when compared to an Income from Rates and Charges of $40.9 million.
In just five years, employee costs have increased by $6 million from $19.7 million to $25.8 million. That averages $1.2 million for each year!
We are of the opinion that expenditure of such magnitude, demanding such an enormous impost on the ratepayers, is unjustified and out of all proportion to the operations of the council.
Recent discussions by the council to reduce the labour force by 2 FTE we regard as absolutely ridiculous and useless.
Mr Mayor, our requirement is as follows:
An immediate reduction of the labour force by 15 FTE.
This must include 10 FTE in the top heavy area of directors and managerial positions. This must be implemented with a professional reconstruction and re-alignment of all council operations. Especially ensuring that contract labour does not increase under any circumstances.
This council spends enormous amounts of money in areas that are irrelevant to its core business.
We regard all expenditure incurred in the provision of services that are provided by others must not be funded by ratepayers and stopped.
The remuneration of the position of CEO is out of all proportion with a small base of 19,385 ratable properties and governance of a simple service industry.
The listed salary for this position has increased from $130,000 to $310,000, an average increase of $27,500 per year. Such a huge salary acts as a benchmark for the rest of the managerial positions and that is of deep concern.
This position is priced out of the market in relation to the council’s operations.
Mr Mayor, we look forward to positive actions and require that documentation requested is signed by the CEO and countersigned by the Mayor as proof of authenticity and a declaration that this is the total amount of the Employee Payroll Establishment as provided.
Gus Blaauw (treasurer), Steve Findlay (president), Otto Ippel (vice president), Lindsay Love (secretary), South Gippsland Action Group.