The 2017 Local Communities Satisfaction Report shows the Overall Performance Rating for the South Gippsland Shire Council has reached a disastrous all-time low of 46 points, one of the lowest ratings in Victoria.
The reaction of councillors at the June 2017 council meeting was virtually silence.
Now that the backslapping and self-congratulating over the acceptance of a poor, reheated and re-constituted 2017/18 Budget is past us we can concentrate on the really serious issues.
Ratepayers are entitled to expect that the council immediately formulates a strategy to drastically improve this bureaucratic bungling of the worst order. But we see not one positive move in that direction.
To add insult to an already crippling injury, employee costs have increased by $6 million from $19.7 million to $25.8 million in just a few years while performance has deteriorated to the depths of despair.
Mr Mayor, we would like to bring to your attention some of the major issues of concern that no doubt have contributed to the lowest satisfaction rating in the council’s history.
The Ansevata dispute is still costing ratepayers serious money and ongoing problems will add significantly to the already enormous expenditure.
The recently surfaced Bald Hills wind farm dispute and legal action now before the Supreme Court will be a never ending serious problem of big concern.
The caravan parks disaster with millions of dollars in capital and operational expenditure over the last few years, unaccounted for; the ongoing wages and salaries of four direct employees plus additional indirect employee costs is unacceptable.
Costs, in particular employee costs, have escalated rapidly beyond all reason, underlying operating losses are an ongoing sore and ever increasing bad governance, in particular excessive secrecy, is the order of the day. Why is this allowed to fester and indeed to become worse?
Unfortunately there is much more that we have problems with but leave that for another occasion.
Mr Mayor, we demand action!
This council must immediately make it abundantly clear to the CEO, the four directors and the 20 or so managers that this disastrous performance is unacceptable. There is only one clear message: poor governance must stop. Right now!
It is painfully obvious to us that this CEO presides over an unacceptably bloated, ineffective bureaucracy. This train wreck of a Performance Rating must be the wakeup call for a clean-up and clean out. Unfortunately, we fear this council is incapable to manage this. And the bureaucracy headed by the CEO and four directors have their governance, or lack thereof, on full display for all to see.
Mr Mayor, councillors, time for doing nothing is over.
Time for pathetic tinkering with one or two FTE positions has long since passed you by.
We demand a real overhaul and re-alignment of all council’s operations and in particular the bloated top heavy employee establishment.
If you are incapable of instigating and completing such a program, you must engage real professional expertise.
We demand real leadership, we demand real change, we demand real performance, and we demand this council brings this bureaucracy into the real world.
Accordingly, Mr Mayor, please detail to us by return, the program and the steps this council is taking to remedy this disastrous situation.
Gus Blaauw, South Gippsland Action Group.