CALLS to stand down 200 South Gippsland Shire Council employees were extremist and would have been disastrous, according to administrator Christian Zahra.
Instead, Mr Zahra and his fellow administrators praised the long-term business continuity and contingency planning that saw almost all staff move to off-site working arrangements in a week with minimal impact on the delivery of services.
Mr Zahra described it as “a very significant public achievement”.
“It stands in contrast to the approaches that at least some people were calling for, some type of immediate shutdown or scaling back to almost nothing,” he said.
“It would have been disastrous for the South Gippsland Shire Council, and I think it’s a good thing and it certainly serves the public interest that we never took those views seriously.”
A council spokesperson said no staff had been stood down as a result of the pandemic although some had been assigned to alternative duties.
The customer service team is working remotely while connected to council’s network, enabling them to respond to customer enquiries and raise work orders.
Capital works, waste services, parks and gardens, road maintenance, immunisation and maternal child health functions are continuing with amended work practices to include social distancing.
Local laws vehicles have been fitted with technology, enabling officers to work remotely and respond to matters such as stock on roads.
Chief administrator Julie Eisenbise added her praise to the staff response and asked chief executive Kerryn Ellis to pass on the administrators’ congratulations to the staff.
Ms Eisenbise also thanked the community for adapting to the social and business disruptions.
“The community is quite accepting of speaking to us on the phones,” she said.