Meet Our Members

  • 19 Nov 2014 5:50 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak to Andrew Aitken, CEO of Adelaide Hills Council.

    Andrew explains his focus on consistency, his new role as President of LG Professionals (SA) and his aspirations for a career in musical theatre.....!

    Hi Andrew, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    CEO. From what I can gather, it largely involves reporting to 13 council members and 161 staff members…

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was a director at the City of Tea Tree Gully - and was attracted to this role because I thought it would be a good role for a new CEO and it was clear that the council wanted to increase their focus on culture, collaboration and engagement. Being ultimately accountable for the culture and performance of an organisation was a challenge too enticing to pass up.
    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    Working with passionate people and providing tangible / visible value to our community.

    Speaking about your current role - What are the key challenges ahead for Adelaide Hills? 
    Consistency - sustaining the focus on improving our service culture; enhancing innovation; and providing our community with value for money. Another ongoing challenge is reinforcing how critical risk management, respect and reputation is in all our relationships - inside and outside the organisation.

    Where do you see Adelaide Hills as Council area in 20 years - will it look much the same, or how will it differ from today?
    It will still be seen as a great place to live – and will also be recognised as a world class tourism destination; one of the country's treasures; and having an array of vibrant, productive and progressive townships and communities.

    You've just been appointed the President of Local Government Professionals (SA)
    What role do you see LG Professionals (SA) playing in nurturing Local Government Leadership across the sector? 

    Providing a range of leading edge learning and development opportunities for anyone working in local government.

    Do you think networking is a key part of these programs?
    Absolutely. I’ve benefited enormously – personally and professionally - from interacting and sharing experiences with a broad range of people in our LG family - as well as with key stakeholders outside our sector. LG Professionals creates great opportunities for this invaluable networking to occur.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Performing on Broadway. Maybe Off-Broadway, but most likely Broadway...

    Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment?"
    I was driving into a meeting in the city and used that time to make several phone calls. When I arrived at the meeting - with several people I'd never met before – I introduced myself to the first person by saying "Hello, this is Andrew Aitken speaking". Unfortunately, you don't forget moments like that.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Spending time with the family and community musical theatre - did I mention how I'm going to be on Broadway?...

  • 23 Oct 2014 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak to Andrew Meddle, General Manager Sustainable Communities at the Rural City of Murray Bridge.

    Andrew explains his fascinating journey from working in Local Government in the UK to holding a key position in a growing rural City - and how he once tried to smuggle a knife into the Houses of Parliament!

    Hi Andrew, thanks for talking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I have a varied portfolio covering planning, building, environmental and public health, compliance, community services, business support and arts and culture.

    I have some amazing facilities to manage too in our library, regional art gallery, town hall, theatre, Lerwin Aged Care Facility and our recently improved swimming pool.

    Above all I have a great team, with a great sense of humour and a great community centred approach.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was Head of Planning & Transport for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in the UK. Southend is the biggest town in the Eastern region of the UK with over 250,000 reliant on it and 6,000,000 visitors per annum.

    Having grown up in the town it was both the best and worst job in the world. 51 Councillors and all of them were interested in planning and transport – 17 sat on the equivalent of the DAP!

    I was also the transport manager for the mountain biking event at the London 2012 Olympics.

    Before Southend I worked for small Councils, national government, regional government, two County Councils and a charity in country parks, libraries and planning!

    I migrated to Adelaide in October 2012 with my wife and daughter. After a month or so settling in, I was offered the role at Murray Bridge and was immediately excited by the challenges and opportunities. That was January 2013 and I have enjoyed coming to work every day since.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government, especially in a rural city?
    Making a difference every day, in different ways.

     I’ve worked at all tiers of government in the UK and local is the best connected and transformative.

    My major achievement at Southend was to enable the redevelopment of the airport and economic stimulation this brought the town and sub-region during a severe recession. I was really proud to be part of the team that delivered the multi-award winning Better Southend Project and winning UK Council of the Year in 2012.

    At Murray Bridge the scale is different. Here I look forward to enabling the community to access our services and to enabling the Sustainable Communities team to deliver the best services they can. I greatly enjoy the political side of the work and the sparring with Elected Members and seeing, how together, we can make Murray Bridge an even better place to live, work and visit.

    Speaking about your current role – What are the challenges in making or maintaining Murray Bridge as a “sustainable community”. 
    Murray Bridge is growing and growing older and it is doing both of these faster than most of South Australia.

    This coupled to the socio-economic profile of the area leads me to believe that we will face significant additional demands for our services. Also having seen changes in the UK, I expect to see demands for the quality of service increase and expectations that Councils will do more for less.

    The local government paradigm will have to shift to meet community expectation and at present South Australia seems more focussed around finding the money or not doing things rather than being innovative.

    What pressures are (or have been) created through the transition of Murray Bridge from country town to a rural city, with many more people commuting out of the area to work?
    The doubled edged sword of expectation – residents want all of the amenities and benefits of a rural town: that ability to park outside the shop they want, to have local shops and not national chains in Bridge Street and access the services they need without waiting – coupled to the perceived benefits of living in a metro area in terms of improved public transport, a spread of services and the shops they see in bigger centres.

    The fact that people travel to work is something that we can’t change overnight, but plans are in hand to help us address this. We are developing Monarto as an employment hub to serve Murray Bridge and Mount Barker and also seeking to exploit other employment opportunities by working better and more proactively with partners from the public and private sectors.

    You’re on the GM network – what do you see as the most value in being involved in this network?
    For me connections  to knowledge, to experience and to opportunity. The network will help me to develop networks, to share experiences and knowledge and to develop opportunities. I have a lot to learn about South Australian local government, but can also contribute a different perspective.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I am learning the ropes of a different local government system and am trying to familiarise and become proficient in the South Australian local government before taking the next step up. I love local government and South Australia, so I see so no need to move. I am greatly enjoying my role and lifestyle in Murray Bridge and would like to be able to grow here too.

    Do you have an embarrassing “Local Government moment?”
    Dining out (for work!) at the Houses of Parliament and going through the security screening with the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive carrying the smallest penknife in the world. I was then pulled to one side, frisked, the penknife confiscated and by the time I had made the dinner it was announced I had been arrested for trying to smuggle a machete onto the premises!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I love playing golf and spending time with my family travelling and exploring South Australia.

    We feel privileged to live and work here and believe we have been made to feel so welcome. We are looking forward to making a difference here between now and retirement in 30 years!

  • 23 Sep 2014 5:34 AM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Kate Jessep, Director Corporate and Community Services at the City of Victor Harbor.

    Kate explains her diverse career background and how it shapes her approach to Local Government.  Kate also discusses the interesting challenges and opportunities for Community Services that arise from servicing an ageing population.

    Hi Kate, thanks for speaking with us.

    1. What’s your current role, and what does it involve? 
    I am currently employed as the Director Corporate and Community Services at the City of Victor Harbor. My responsibilities include: Finance, Rates, Human Resources, Risk and Work Health Safety, Customer Service, Property, Records, Information Communication Technology, Community Services, Library and deputising for the City Manager.

    2. Where were you before? (i.e. what is your work background/career path so far)
    My previous position was General Manager Organisation Development at Alexandrina Council.  I have more than five year’s experience in Local Government which includes time working in Victoria as a Strategic Planner at the City of Hobsons Bay. Prior to my career in local government I spent more than fifteen years in the Australian Regular Army as a logistics officer.

    I’ve been very fortunate to have had lots of opportunities to study (BA, Grad Dip HR; Grad Dip URP and a number of certificate courses), travel (I’ve visited 23 other countries so far!) and work in different environments over the last twenty five years (I’ve worked in five states and territories in Australia and three other countries).

    3. What attracted you to Local Government, and your current role?
    I love planning, having variety in my work and serving the community so I undertook a Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning to assist my career change from the military to local government.  Although similar to my previous role, I applied for my current role in order to gain experience in a wider portfolio including finance and for additional opportunities to gain experience as acting CEO.

    4. How do you think your military background has assisted your approach to Local Government and your current role?
    I approach local government as a sector which serves its community and consider my role is to support the department, the City Manager and the Council in delivering services to the community in a fair and effective manner.  My values of service and fairness were definitely inculcated during my time in the military.  By the time I was 23 years old I was commanding fifty staff, a workshop and nine Army watercraft and quite a bit of firepower. 

    The leadership training and  experience from my time in the Australian Army assist me everyday in my endeavours at the City of Victor Harbor as I solve problems and support our team in service to our community.  

    5. What motivates you? - what do you find interesting or exciting about working in Local Government?
    I love that local government works so closely with the community and that I get to be involved in services and activities which make a difference. For example, since I've been at Victor Harbor, I have had a lead role over the last couple of years in the successful funding bid for the Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre which included developing the project to ‘shovel ready’ status. 

    After more than 30 years of our community asking for a public swimming pool, we expect construction to commence in the middle of next year.

    6. Victor Harbor is one of Australia's oldest communities (by median
    age) - what challenges and opportunities does this present for Community Services?

    Victor Harbor is a growing community and has very high level of volunteerism - both of which make it a positive environment in which to operate and means we have fantastic programs such as community transport driven by volunteers.  However, as the ageing trend continues the biggest challenge for Victor Harbor is to attract and retain younger adults to provide the services to support our ageing and retiring population.

    7. Personally, what?s the longer term plan ? where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    In the next 5-10 years I would like the opportunity to be a chief executive officer in local government. Further into the future, my husband and I are quite keen to pursue another opportunity to live and work overseas.

    8. Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment"?
    In about week two after commencing at Alexandrina Council I managed to walk into a large pillar that was in the hallway which resulted in breaking my favourite glasses and a few stitches.  The details of how I managed to do this aren't that interesting; although, I do think there is a design issue with a large pillar sitting in a narrow walkway, not far in from the corner!

    9. How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I'm not sure if being a mother is 'leisure time', however; my husband and I are blessed to have two fantastic children and of course it is very rewarding spendimg time with them.  Personally, I've just started training for the Bupa Tour Down Under Community Ride in January and I'm looking forward to establishing our small garden at our new house.

  • 21 Aug 2014 4:38 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Howard Aspey, Airport Administrator, Whyalla City Council.

    Howard (pictured right with aviation legends Chuck Yeager and Dick Smith) explains why he was attracted to the job, and the interesting role that airports play in local economic development.

    Hi Howard, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    My current role is Airport Administrator.  The role involves a very diverse range of duties from all administration (budget preparation and implementation, compliance issues, reporting, parking system management etc.) to pest plant technician, re-fuelling, the list goes on - which makes this role very interesting.
     
    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    My position prior to this was in the parks and garden department.  While there I completed an advanced diploma in arboriculture and an advanced certificate in horticulture.  I have an interest in remote control helicopters and planes so when the opportunity presented its self to be positioned at the airport, I naturally jumped at it.
     
    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    I think one of the biggest attractions is that there is such a diverse range of positions within one organisation.  Also there is the ability for anyone to gain added skills with the training that is offered.
     
    Speaking about your current role - it's very interesting to many of our readers because not many councils have the responsibility for the local airport.  Why do some country regions run the airport?  Do you think it has a good synergy with other Council operations?  Does it contribute to the council revenue - or is it a cost? 
    The airport, if marketed properly not only has the potential to bring many thousands of people to the city but also could be seen as an area for good commercial development. 

    I see the airport as having an important role in bringing in tourists not only into Whyalla, but the whole region, which links up well with Council’s tourist centre. In the times gone by councils took over the airports because state government no longer wanted to run them - but I see that view has changed and councils see airports as an important piece of infrastructure.


    Are there any plans for the airport?  And how do you see the importance of the role the airport plays in economic development for Whyalla?
    The Whyalla airport has only just had a long overdue upgrade.  The upgrades consisted of a terminal three times the size of the previous one, new furnishings, an area for a café, upgraded baggage areas, new CCTV system and a new parking management system. 

    I see the airport playing a role in the economic development of Whyalla not only by bringing more people to the region but also the commercial potential in and around the airport.


    You’ve just completed LGMA's PLP – How well do you think these programs have prepared you for a leadership role - and what have you been able to put into practice in your current role?
    The PLP program I found very interesting - all the units covered had significance to my position, and this has aided me in creating a more efficient  work place
     
    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    The aviation industry is an ever changing environment, there is always something new to learn.  Coupled with the introduction of new commercial development in and around the Whyalla airport, I hope in 5 years I am still involved in some capacity within the airport.
     
    Do you have an embarrassing “Local Government moment?”
    The one that comes to mind is when I was getting ready to go on leave.  I was finishing off mowing the edges of our gravel runway close to the drain edge.   It had been raining for a few days but seemed hard enough to drive on.

    Then 45 minutes before I was ready to finish I bogged the tractor to its axle. 

    I called the depot to send out a truck to help pull me out but we bogged that too - so then we asked for a large front end loader and…..yep we bogged that as well.  Fast running out of machinery, I called a friend who had a grader. 

    He turned up and one at a time, managed to rescue us from any further embarrassment - but at least I got to hide for a while on holidays.
     
    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I spend a lot of time with my family and now have a grandson who occupies a good deal of our time.  My wife and I also enjoy touring in our Stingray Corvette my other passions are restoring cars and photography.

  • 21 Jul 2014 10:20 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Lorraine Vingerhoets, Development Officer, Building and Compliance, City of Burnside.

    Lorraine tells us about how (and why) she found her way into Local Government and as a recent graduate of both the ELP and PLP, gives us her insight into both of those programs.

    Hi Lorraine, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?

    I am currently a Development Officer Building & Compliance within City Development and Safety at the City of Burnside.

    My role involves the assessment of development applications requiring ‘building rules consent’ against legislative framework and inspections of all new building work.  I am also the building compliance officer which means I am responsible for investigating breaches of the Act and Regulations and ensuring that any threats to safety e.g. swimming pools and unsafe structures, such as retaining walls.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?

    In the scheme of things I have only been in Local Government a short while  - some 6.5 years - but before this is spent 13 years in State Government and what seems like a life time in private business.  I won’t divulge how many years as it shows my age!

    Along the way I have spent many years studying which has placed me in the position I hold today.  I am most proud of achieving my general builder’s licence which enables me to supervise and construct dwelling up to three stories in height, in an industry that is very male dominated.  I vividly remember being told by a former employer that ‘there is no place for a woman in the construction industry’ - so this empowered me to prove him wrong!

    The attraction to Local Government came about by legislation.  I had witnessed many construction sites that just did not meet standards and being passionate about the built environment, I believed I could play a more meaningful role working in Local Government.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?

    Firstly knowing the role I play within Local Government ensures the built environment is safer and free from construction defects.  Secondly the job satisfaction I receive serving our community.  I would also be interested in becoming an elected member for my local Council sometime in the future.

    Speaking about your current role – What are the challenges for development in an established area like Burnside?

    Speaking purely from a building perspective, one of the challenges Burnside, like many other metropolitan councils will face, is the ever increasing demand on infrastructure such as managing urban stormwater.  I believe stormwater should be recognised as a valuable resource, rather than a nuisance to be disposed of quickly,  especially in large urban areas. More emphasis should be placed on the design and implementation of stormwater harvesting systems such as rainwater tanks, grey water systems and effluent reuse.

    You’ve just completed both the PLP and ELP – How well do you think these programs have prepared you for a leadership role?

    I really enjoyed participating in both these programs and congratulate the LGMA for coordinating them.  The two courses were very different from each other.  The ELP focussed on the individual’s management style.  In this program we all undertook a team management profile questionnaire.  Mine indicated that my major role is a ‘concluder-producer’.

    The PLP programme focused more on Local Government content.  I found this to be extremely valuable especially for aspiring future leaders. 

    Do you think networking is a key part of these programs? How do you think the relationships you forged in the programs will assist you in the future?

    The networking component was the most enjoyable for me personally.  The ELP program particularly encouraged this; in fact we worked in groups to deliver our projects so you really got to know each other quiet well.  Forming these relationships was a valuable tool for both my personal and professional development.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Interesting question! I see myself still working in Local Government and I hope that I find a position as Manager of Development Services or any other portfolio at a regional council, maybe Port Lincoln as this is one of my favourite places.  Fortunately my husband is a tradesman so his job will follow us and my two boys are now adults settled in their own lives.


    Do you have an embarrassing “Local Government moment?”

    Not that I can recall! However my role play ‘acting’ as a school principal in our ELP
    short movie was pretty embarrassing!   It’s fair to say I’m not a good actor - as was shown at the 2013 conference.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?

    Outside work I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. We are very close and see each other often, most weekends see some kind of get together and bbq.  I am not a very sporty person but I like any fast adrenaline kinds of activities such as bungy jumping and horse riding.  My husband rides a ‘Fat Boy’ Harley Davidson and I have my learners, so I too will enjoy riding a Harley very soon.




  • 13 Jun 2014 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Sarah Cleggett, Social Planner at Adelaide City Council.  Sarah speaks about the challenges for Adelaide, the impact of Climate Change and the Vibrant City agenda.

    Hi Sarah, thanks for speaking with us.  

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?

    I am Social Planner at Adelaide City Council. Social Planning is about promoting social development in communities and responding to social issues and needs.

    At ACC, I coordinate activities related to pursuing the outcomes of Council’s Access and Inclusion Strategy which includes facilitating the Access and Inclusion Advisory Panel and working with key projects across Council to reduce barriers to participation for people with disability.

    I also undertake research and community and stakeholder engagement to ensure Council is aware of trends and State and Federal policy directions related to vulnerable groups such as homelessness and ageing.

    I provide advice related to large development applications and development policy for the city.

    Currently, I am supporting the development of a new Council run community space within Council’s new mixed use development the Ergo Apartments. 

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?

    I started my Local Government career at the City of Charles Sturt in community development and projects.

    Previously I worked as a Social Worker in the not for profit sector and mental health sector. I had aspired to a Social Planning position since I graduated and when the position came up at Adelaide, I thought I would throw my hat in the ring.

    The city had been earmarked for major infill development and offered the opportunity to work on projects that would have a greater impact to people who live, work and visit the city being a Capital City.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?

    At the Local Government level you get to see a more immediate impact of the work you do and get to work more closely with the community.

    Having been a Social Worker, I got a good sense of the importance that local neighbourhoods have on people’s wellbeing through access to good transport links, shops, community centres and libraries and social support whether that be neighbours and friends or more formal support like doctors and other service providers.

    Working at the Local Government level I get to be involved in urban and community planning that can lead to a good basis for supportive local neighbourhoods.

    Speaking about your current role - What are the most critical social and inclusion challenges that come with Adelaide's residential growth?

    Personally I think a key challenge is making sure that everyone is included in the journey Adelaide is taking regarding the vibrant city agenda.

    I believe we need to take an active role in ensuring that marginalised and vulnerable people are warmly invited, welcomed, supported and acknowledged as contributors to the fabric of city life.

    As part of that approach Government needsto ensure that a variety of people can afford to live in the city and have access to meaningful activities whether that is paid work, volunteering or participation in projects and programs. 

    How do you bring the community along in the journey?

    Most people are happy to go about their lives and have some confidence that things at a Local Government level will tick along in the background.

    For many people, the only contact they have with Local Government is when something goes wrong or they need support.

    I think it’s important for Council to design their services and do business in a way that makes information and communication relevant and accessible.

    I think it’s our job to break down the big issues into bite size pieces and provide people the opportunity to do business, get involved and contribute in a way that suits them which could be online, it could be at their local café, it could be through a gathering at the local pub.

    Increasingly the opportunity to work alongside people is part of our approach, rather than just provide a service.

    It’s important organisations create the room for staff to work collaboratively with the community and build trust over time.

    What do you think will be the biggest influences on the lifestyle of city dwellers in the near future, and does Council have a role to play in assisting this?

    Climate change will have a real impact on people living, working and visiting the city in future years.

    The urban heat island effect is something Council will need to actively plan for and respond to in many different ways including street greening, support for vulnerable communities such as the homeless and elderly and everyday considerations like pedestrian and traffic management.

    Adelaide City Council has begun this work and is being proactive in planning for climate change.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Social planning is a varied discipline and there are many things to get involved with especially given Adelaide’s role as a Capital City.

    Therefore I anticipate that I will still be learning and getting challenged by my role as Social Planner.

    I could be interested in project role opportunities if they gave me the opportunity to increase my understanding of different parts of the business in order to influence more people focussed planning.

    Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment?"

    I think security alarms going off in the middle of a community cinema event at the Woodville Town Hall,and losing power in the middle of an outdoor cinema event in Athol Park were both quite awkward moments but pretty standard in the life of a community development worker.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?

    At the moment, I’m planning a wedding so it feels like most of my spare time is spent booking things. Otherwise I like to spend time with family and friends, do yoga and look after the garden.

  • 21 May 2014 5:43 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Mark McShane, CEO of the City of Mt Gambier.

    Mark tells us about how he sees Mt Gambier changing in the future, the challenges that lie ahead, and also reveals a particularly awkward "embarrassing moment"!

    Hi Mark - thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    Currently CEO City of Mount Gambier. While South Australia’s largest regional City (26,000 people) the Council is reasonably small with approximately 130 staff and 11 Councillors.

    The City is a “hole in the donut” council surrounded by the District Council of Grant, so geographically it is quite small.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was the Director of Corporate Services at the Port Adelaide Enfield Council and prior to that several human resources consulting roles in Sydney and overseas.

    I previously worked in the south east in Kimberly Clark and knew the area well hence was attracted both to the opportunity of the role of CEO in local government and the location.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    Our city is reasonably small and the council has strong connectivity into many facets of the community and our efforts are very visible for example supporting major and minor events, community facilities and maintaining an exceptional level of public amenity through our  parks and gardens a sports facilities.

    Speaking about your current role - How do you think Mt Gambier will change during the next 10 years?
    Like most regional centres particularly in South Australia we have a significant number of challenges both in the provision of community services, health and specialist medical facilities as well as maintaining economic prosperity.

    Councils are becoming increasing important in delivering direct services to the community, we are either at the top or the bottom of the food chain – depending on your view!  Funding and reaching the diverse range of people and needs in the City will be a challenge.

    The City is very attractive with an affordable and excellent lifestyle (one traffic light to work in 3 minutes!) and I think over the next ten to twenty years it will be a preferred location for families seeking an alternative to large city living and for retirement migration.

    What will be the biggest influences on those changes?
    The City has to forge its own future and we are in the process of developing futures papers to chart our own direction.

    While we may get some support from the State, perhaps a bit more now given the focus on regional development since the last state election, Council really needs to be the driving force in partnership with other stakeholders.

    The growth in the regional economy with a focus on premium food and wine from a clean environment is a major selling point to the global market especially to China

    As a result of these changes and influences - what will be the major challenges for Mt Gambier?
    Ensuring all of our community are able to enjoy the benefits of living in the City. While many people outside of Mount Gambier consider it a prosperous place and in some cases it is, we have large pockets of disadvantage and a range of problems that you find in any city.

    Maintaining the enviable lifestyle while the city grows will be a challenge. Capacity to finance the many demands from the community is and will be a major challenge

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I have been in this role for two and a half years so in five years time I see myself still in the position. There is never a shortage of challenges in the role and faced by the city.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    My appointment to this position was announced by the Mayor of Mount Gambier and picked up by the local media before I had a chance to formally notify my previous CEO and my staff.

    My previous council's media monitoring system, managed by records management, picked up the “local government” news that featured my new appointment leading to some fancy footwork being needed to “kill” the news to allow time for proper announcements to my staff.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    This region is blessed with a spectacular coastline, mostly deserted; excellent wineries and many natural features all within half an hours drive.

    My back gate opens to the Blue Lake and I never tire of walking the 4 kms around it.

    We are also four and a half hours from Melbourne and Adelaide so it’s not far for a break. I would like more time but as the readers will know juggling a hectic work environment, home and leisure is a balancing act.


  • 24 Apr 2014 2:44 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Jodie Rugless, Manager Information Services at the City of Charles Sturt.

    Jodie speaks about the massive changes occuring in IT Services, the emergence of new technologies - and how wearing two completely different shoes (from different pairs) can be a bad idea!

    Hi Jodie - thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I work as the Information Services Manager at the City of Charles Sturt where I have full strategic and operational oversight of all IT services.

    There are 31 people in my team and I have a total annual budget of $7.9m.


    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was previously the Chief Information Officer at RDNS SA. Most of my working career has been in the community/not for profit sector as I am passionate about the IT profession.

    I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing my efforts translate to community value and/or benefit. I am lucky in my current role at Charles Sturt as it provides me the opportunity to continue my community focused work while working in an organisation that is known for its innovation, use of technology, and commitment to the community.


    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    Local Government has the greatest opportunity of all government tiers to directly impact the community on a daily basis.

    Every day the work that I do translates to community benefit in a way that I can see and feel. It’s incredibly rewarding.

    Speaking about your current role – the way people interact with technology is changing rapidly.  How do you see technology shaping the way councils deal with their residents and provide services in the next 5-10  years?
    Technology will increasingly impact us at Charles Sturt and the services we provide. Every day there are new technologies released or enabled that have the opportunity to completely reengineer the services we provide.

    If we look at the world 10 years ago, Facebook didn’t exist and the whole concept of social media was quite foreign. Now, social media platforms are mainstream mechanisms of delivering information to our community. With this rapid shift in mind, it’s clear to see that it is almost impossible to predict how technology will shape our services.

    As a technologist, ensuring that processes exist to understand and embrace technologies as they emerge in a way that maximises the value for the organisation and the community is vital.

    From a council perspective - what are the driving forces of technology change – and how do you see them evolving?
    I think there are five main forces impacting technology change: Cloud, Mobility, Big Data, Social and the Internet of Things. Every one of these forces will impact our services at Charles Sturt.

    While cloud has been a topic of conversation for years, it is only now that it is becoming a true workable alternative as an internal infrastructure replacement. Mobility is everywhere and everyone.

    Employees and customers alike are already expecting to access services via mobile devices.

    Big Data will see improved decision making and earlier identification of potential issues and opportunities allowing for increased service efficiency and effectiveness.

    Social media will continue to shape the ways in which we interact with our staff and our community.

    By bringing all of these changes and new ways of thinking together we will eventually operate in an environment where any data is accessible on all things we manage at all times via any device in any location. The opportunities are endless!

    Personally - what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I love my job and am passionate about what I do.

    I am lucky that my job satisfaction is really high, and I look forward to continuing to work at Charles Sturt into the future.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    So many to choose from! In about my 3rd week at Charles Sturt, I had a full day of meetings, mostly get to know meetings with other managers and my team members.

    About 2 hours into the day, I noticed that I was wearing two different shoes. Both were dark in colour but they were different styles with different heel heights. I managed to sneak through the day keeping my feet below desks and meeting tables as much as possible and as a result very few people noticed. However, one staff member who I had gotten to know well, later made an announcement regarding my footwear to the whole team.

    My shoes are regularly commented on now, not for how they look but for the fact that they are a matching pair!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I spend time with my family including my two beautiful children.

    My husband and I have just purchased a ski boat so I suspect most of my leisure time from now on will be on the river skiing with the kids – I cannot wait!


  • 19 Mar 2014 12:29 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Vincent Cammell, CEO of the Coorong District Council. 

    Vincent speaks about the differences found in moving from the City of Adelaide to a rural council, and also the how the role of rural councils is changing...

    Hi Vincent, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    My current role is as Chief Executive Officer of the Coorong District Council. The prime focus of my role is working with Elected Members to set the vision and strategy for the management of the district. I am also the focus for communication and engagement with our community which includes educating on why some things need to be done and what the long term benefit or outcome will be.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was previously the Corporate Manager Infrastructure with the City of Adelaide. Although this was a very good job my ambition has always been to be in a position to lead and set the vision for a Council. My current role gives me the opportunity to apply all of the positive learnings that I have achieved in twenty two years in local government and make a very direct difference to the local community.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    I have always taken the approach that I am in local government because I want to make a difference at a community level. I enjoy getting out of the office and talking and engaging with a wide range of people and using this interaction to help shape future directions.

    One of my favourite topics for research and discussion is about corporate social responsibility and how this affects and drives traditional infrastructure delivery at a local level.

    Speaking about your current role – As a CEO in a rural council you have a wide range of responsibilities.   How do you think the CEO role, and the role of rural councils has changed over the last 5-10  years?
    In the case of the Coorong Council I would suggest that the Council has traditionally seen itself as a road authority. This began to change in a big way during the last drought period when Elected Members took on a more active role in cross government communication in attempting to gain both social support but also to raise awareness in relation to water management.

    I believe it was during this time period that attitudes changed to what Council existed for and it is as a result of this that I am able to more actively pursue social, cultural and economic development opportunities in the area. Council is also more accepting of the need to maintain an external profile and look at opportunities to participate with other levels of government to assist with long term positioning.

    What are the driving forces of that change – and how do you see them evolving?
    The key driving force has come from the need to achieve future sustainability of towns in the region. This is both from a social and financial perspective as towns look to reposition themselves to widen their appeal and look for other avenues to attract people and protect jobs.

    Change of this nature is one of a cultural nature where our community has in the past been able to look internally to sustain itself but is now challenged by external factors to maintain its internal integrity. Effectively the existing communities will need to become more open to external interest to remain viable.


    What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Although having only been in my current position for a short time my personal goal is to remain in local government and progress (subject to having met my local goals) to a larger organisation.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    Well there was that one time when..... mmm having trouble coming up with something that should be shared!


    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    My leisure time is mostly focussed around my children and being actively involved in their lives. I coach two different soccer teams and during a large part of the year this keeps me busy and entertained away from work.

     

  • 24 Jan 2014 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Julie Short, Manager of Organisational Development at the City of Tea Tree Gully.  Julie speaks about her background and the upcoming challenges of the baby boomers leaving the workforce.

    Hi Julie, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I am the Manager of Organisational Development and I have been at the City of Tea Tree Gully for four years.

    My role is very diverse, with responsibility for leading a team of 11 in the implementation of strategies to develop our culture and leadership capability, delivering human resources services and responsibility for our health and safety system.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was working as Manager Human Resources and Customer Service at the City of Unley. I was attracted to this role as it was an opportunity to work in a larger Council, the role was more diverse and it provided the opportunity to lead a much larger team.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    The diversity of the work you do and the close connection with the local community.

    Speaking about your current role – what are the key trends in OD in 2014?  How do you think this will change in the future?
    We have an Organisational Development Strategy in place that maps out the key initiatives that we will deliver over the next three years to develop the organisation.

    This year we are focusing on developing our culture, improving the way we manage change and continuing our leadership development journey – focussing on team leaders.

    There will always be a focus on leadership and cultural development as these are critical for high performing organisations, but the requirement for robust workforce planning will increase as the baby boomers start reaching retirement age over the next 5 years.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I am really enjoying my current role, but I would also like to gain experience working in a customer facing role. I am yet to decide whether to pursue a Director/General Manager role.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    Nothing specific comes to mind, but I am terrible with names. Sometimes with people I have known for some time!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I love wining and dining, but I also attend the gym regularly and cycle – so hopefully they offset each other. I also have two teenage girls, so they keep me on my toes.


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