Meet Our Members

  • 21 May 2015 12:49 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Matthew Pears, CEO of the City of Mitcham.

    Matthew discusses the challenges and opportunities for Mitcham - and why Port Power should be in division "two" of the AFL...

    He has also recently been appointed as the Chair of the CEO Network and he shares his goals for the group.

    Hi Matthew, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    Chief Executive Officer, City of Mitcham.  It involves working with the community, elected members and staff to constantly improve the services provided by City of Mitcham.

    Where were you before? (i.e. what is your work background/career path so far)
    I worked for the City of Playford for just over ten years.  Initially as Manager of Planning and Economic Development and then as one of two General Managers.  Before joining Local Government I worked at Centrelink for ten years.

    What attracted you to Local Government, and your current role?
    I have always wanted to work in the public sector, Local Government is the most dynamic level of government because we are the closest to the community.

    You’ve recently been appointed to both the LG Professionals SA Board and also the Chair of the CEO network.   Tell us a bit more about the CEO network – what do you see as the benefits of the group – and what are your goals for your time as Chair?
    I think the CEO network:
    •    Could provide CEOs the opportunity to speak (independently of elected members) on issues affecting the sector,
    •    Provides development and training opportunities,
    •    Provides networking opportunities.
    As Chair I am keen to explore and further define the role of the network, particularly around our interaction with other LG Professionals Networks and giving a CEO perspective on issues facing the sector.

    What motivates you? - what do you find interesting or exciting about working in Local Government?
    Working with so many passionate people (staff, Elected Members and the community) who care about their communities.

    Mitcham is one of South Australia's more “established” council areas –what challenges and opportunities does this present?
    The rate of change in society is such I don’t think Mitcham is ‘established’.  The City itself and Council’s role  will be very different in 10 years. 

    In the short term there are significant opportunities for Mitcham around the future of Flinders University (including Tonsley), Flinders Hospital, Blackwood and South Road.  Council needs to work with the community to shape these opportunities not just for Mitcham but for the future of the State.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan ? where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Finally taking some long term leave, on a beach having just celebrated another Central District Premiership, wondering if Port Power will ever get out of Division two of the AFL (division two having been created to stop the Power having to play superior teams such as the Crows).

    Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment"?
    I would need more space to do justice to this question.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Taxi driver to two teenage sons, watching almost any sport and fighting a losing battle to stay fit.

  • 19 Mar 2015 1:41 PM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Tammie Hamilton, Service Coordinator , Planning and Quality for the City of Playford.

    Tammie shares some of her background, her positive reflections of LG Professionals membership and also explains what motivates her to work in Local Government. 

    Hi Tammie, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I’m the Service Coordinator (front line manager) for the Planning and Quality (P&Q) Business Support Team at the City of Playford
    The team and I are accountable for ensuring all Council’s services have a ‘service standard’. This is where services are costed (so we can sustainably afford what we provide) and measured as a method to ensure we deliver efficient and effective services to the community.

    As of this year, P&Q are also accountable for the Resident Satisfaction Survey which is currently undergoing a full review so we can align it with our Service Standards system and other Council functions, such as the Strategic Plan, Community Vision etc. 
    Our goal is to embed the Service Standards system within Playford, much like WH&S where all staff will are aware and accountable for the delivery of their service standard, and at the same time enable Managers to make more informed decisions around resourcing based upon the measures they collect and align with the results from the Resident Satisfaction Survey.

    The team is also accountable for supporting internal Service Level Agreements; we are currently setting them up in time for next financial year and ensure they align to Playford’s new business model.

    Where were you before? (i.e. what is your work background/career path so far)
    According to Playford staff, I was a “Mexican” before I came here…I was ‘south of the border’ at the City of Salisbury for 7 years.

    I started at Salisbury straight out of University where I worked in the Strategic Planning Department across the areas of Recreation Planning and Social Planning.  I finished up at Salisbury in a Research and Policy Officer role.
    I then moved to Playford as the Social Planner where I delivered on a Social Infrastructure Plan for the City.

    In 2013 I was appointed Service Coordinator for a newly developed team in Playford: Planning & Quality.  This team was put together as a way to plan for tomorrow.

    What attracted you to Local Government, and your current role?
    I am really passionate about helping people and while at University I identified that Local Government was a potential space where I could make my mark.

    My final year university placement was at Salisbury where I undertook a research project focussing on how young people with a disability access council services. After this, and I was fortunate enough to be offered a Project Officer role. This was funded by the Office of Recreation and Sport where I worked with an existing family early intervention program to support children in families to engage in local sport and recreation opportunities.

    You’ve been very involved in LG Professionals, as a member, part of a challenge team and now as a board member – how do you think this involvement has changed or assisted your approach to your current role?
    Being a member of LG Professionals has always helped me keep an eye on what’s going on across the sector. Having access to the networks, training and development opportunities provided by LG Professionals has really provided value to my role. It has enabled me to understand and learn from sector issues and opportunities, as opposed to not understanding how it fits or impacts the sector or the community I work for.

    What motivates you? - What do you find interesting or exciting about working in Local Government?
    The diversity of work that Local Government provides is always a motivator, but more importantly the role Local Government plays in providing services to the community is my main driver.
    Although the services a community needs may not be the accountability of Local Government it’s important that we work with other sectors of Government, the not for profit sector and the community to ensure the community get the right services and make sure it’s delivered in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner.
    Playford is one of Australia's key growth councils – what challenges and opportunities does this present?
    Playford is dealing with a split in the City between the old and new areas. Sustainably providing infrastructure and services as the City grows is a challenge, as is building community capacity in a historically low socio-economic area.

    The growth of the City is the opportunity! We just have to ensure that it’s coordinated strategically in a way that the community benefits.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    At the moment my career goal is to be a CEO in LG – ambitious I know!
    I’ve just started my MBA so I hoping that in the next 5 years I’ll have moved up to senior management.

    Between now and then, I’d like the opportunity to learn as much about council business as I can, and I’m lucky that my current role is exposing me to much more.

    Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment"?
    At the LG Professionals Awards a few years ago. I was on the dance floor with Mal Hemmerling (Playford’s Assets Director) and I did a twirl and slipped and ended up flat on the floor.  I blame my shoes and a wet floor (not the champagne).

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I enjoy weight training and running. My latest interest has been military obstacle courses e.g. True Grit. I also enjoy learning to surf and cook new dishes.

    I LOVE travelling… my next trip is back to Sweden for my friend’s wedding in September 2015 and I’ll head home via the USA or Asia.

  • 16 Feb 2015 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Steve Wooley, Corporate Services Manager / Deputy CEO Wudinna District Council. 

    A recent graduate of both the Professional Leadership Program, (PLP) and the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), Steve explains how involvement with these programs have benefitted his daily work and career and also outlines the challenges facing Wudinna compared to Metro Councils.

    Hi Steve, thanks for talking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    Corporate Services Manager / Deputy CEO Wudinna District Council.
    Main tasks include oversight of a small administration team (5) covering Finance, Governance, Risk Management, Customer Service, Policies, Procedures etc plus support and relief of CEO during his leave.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    Deputy CEO Elliston District Council for 2 years and prior to that Team Leader Legislative Compliance Team Whyalla City Council.

    I moved into Senior Management because I saw an opportunity to develop my career and bring a different perspective to the Deputy CEO role, most of whom seem to rise via the purely admin stream.

    Legislative compliance at the ‘top end’  is becoming increasingly vital as transparency in decision making is demanded by ratepayers, the media and governments.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    The diversity of day to day tasks and the experiences that flow from that.

    Although you may have a day or week’s work plan established, something unexpected always crops up and often requires you to re-prioritise the plan & allocate time & resources you may not have.

    It is satisfying to meet the challenge of the unexpected and still complete the planned tasks, perhaps using skills you didn’t know you had.

    Speaking about your current role - What are the key challenges ahead for Corporate Services at Wudinna? 
    Local Government generally is being forced to do more and more with less and less resources and flowing from that is the need employ qualified and experienced staff to ‘do the job’.

    Wudinna carries exactly the same levels of legislative responsibility as Adelaide City Council, but we have to work with extremely limited financial & human resources.
    We simply cannot offer the salary packages paid by metro or large rural councils and not every-one appreciates the lifestyle of a remote country town, so attracting & retaining qualified staff can be troublesome.

    We do employ staff on reduced hours or part time arrangements, and our current employees do a magnificent job given the restrictions they face.

    We have implemented resources sharing with neighbouring Councils but the salary & vehicle costs of a 600km return journey often negate any efficiencies or savings. 
    Council amalgamations are often offered as the solution but here, the tyranny of distance prevents such concepts being truly successful over the long term.

    How do you think the challenges differ between Metro and Country Councils?
    I am not sure they do, metro councils may be able to offer better salary packages and access to a different lifestyle to ours, but they also risk high staff turn-over and are perhaps under more intense direct pressure from rate-payers, the media and politicians to do more with less.

    They certainly seem to attract more scandals and enquiries into decisions and actions than we do.

    Rural people seem to be happy with verbal responses to queries about Council’s actions whereas metro dwellers appear to ‘go formal’ with Freedom of Information Act applications or reports to ICAC or the Ombudsman from the start.

    You are a recent graduate of both the Professional Leadership Program, (PLP) and the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

    How do you think you have benefitted from getting involved with these programs? Would you recommend the programs to other Local Government professionals?
    The ELP & PLP are have been of tremendous benefit to my role from both an operational and networking perspective.

    Certainly the theory lessons of the PLP have given me greater insight into handling day to day issues from a different perspective, while enhancing my knowledge in the financial arena.

    The ELP was very stimulating and challenging. From day 1 we were encouraged to see the program as one of self-development and self-analysis leading to better self-confidence that enhances better decision making.

    I would thoroughly recommend either or both courses for anyone who wishes to make a career for themselves in Local Government regardless of their age or level of employment.

    The formal learning component of both ELP & PLP is a valuable asset while the networking skills and individual bonds that were created via both programs will remain with me for life.

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Sitting on the boat, catching King George Whiting at a secret spot off the West Coast of the Eyre Peninsula is the dream.

    Reality will probably see me working perhaps 2 -3 or more days per week.

    If I get the balance right, I can continue to contribute to the work force while enjoying some of the luxuries I have worked for since 1972.

    Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment?"
    Far too many to list here. In 15 years you are bound to make a few mistakes, if you don’t learn from them, you won’t succeed. Once is a mistake, twice is a habit.

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Well, if it has spark plugs, I’m probably driving or riding it.

    I am a dedicated ‘petrol head’ with a collection of classic cars and motorbikes, plus an under used race car.

    I fish from my own boats, and try to squeeze a bit of camping in around using all the toys.

    The lawn bowls bug bit me 2 years back and I worry that it will take over as it is a wonderful atmosphere to indulge in fine wine and whisky appreciation sessions.

  • 23 Jan 2015 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Ginny Moon, Director Corporate Services at the City of Prospect.

    Ginny explains the challenges facing Corporate Services at Prospect, and also an interesting incident regarding the Council "undertaker" period leading up to the Elections!

    Hi Ginny - thanks for speaking with us..

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    My current role is Director Corporate Services.  My portfolio includes Financial Management, Governance, Information Technology, Information Management, Procurement, Customer Services and Human Resource.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    Prior to this role, I have been Manager of Finance at both Regional and City Councils.  The diverse services provided to the community at both regional and city councils, has given me a higher level of appreciation of the services provided by the Local Government Industry.

    The role of Director Corporate Services lifted my horizon and given me an opportunity to contribute to other areas of Council.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    The diversity of the industry, knowing that Council’s decisions and service delivery has a direct impact in shaping a community.
    Working amongst passionate, community minded local government colleagues. 

    Speaking about your current role - What are the key challenges ahead for Corporate Services at Prospect? 
    Like other portfolios, one of the common challenges is to meet/manage community expectations.

    Functions of Corporate Services are likened to the engine room.  Key challenges will be ensuring that the engine is running smoothly and to have systems and processes in place to provide regular maintenance.  Keep an eye out for more efficient and cost effective engine parts and, if required, purchase a whole new model.  In a nutshell, the focus is to deliver more efficient services, maintain and improve financial sustainability.

    Prospect is already a leader in shared services – are there even more shared services on the horizon?
    City of Prospect will continue to look into collaboration and shared service arrangements that deliver further efficiencies, economy of scale and improved service delivery.
    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    In 5 years time.....I would hope to have made a positive impact within and beyond Corporate Services, also the opportunity to expand or change my current portfolio.

    Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment"?
    During a Workshop session during the Election period, I informed our Elected Members that we will be organising several training sessions over the coming months.  One of the training sessions they will need to participate, is a course relating to the “undertaker” period.  Before I knew it, they burst into laughter.

    I hate to imagine the direction and outcome of our Council if they attended the suggested course...

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    Reading and catching up with friends, with food being the main attraction.  Please do not be misled that I am in any way good at the cooking part, I just enjoy the end product.

  • 13 Dec 2014 7:32 AM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Rudolph Reindeer, AKA "Red-Nosed"

    He explains his career to date, the incident that led to the famous name, and also what's in store for the future.

    Hi Rudolph, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role?
    Head Reindeer, North Pole Council Reindeer Team.  I report directly to Santa, the CEO.

    What can you tell us about your career to date? 
    I worked for a few of the other big names before the role with Santa and the North Pole Council team. 

    For example, for a while I was one of the staff for the Easter Bunny, but the work conditions were not what you’d expect so I moved on.  Oh, and there was an unfortunate "egg incident" that also played a part in my departure.  I got some good experience though, especially in the field of being part of a huge one day event. 

    I’ve been with the North Pole Council since 1939, which sounds like a long time, but as you probably know Santa, the elves and I actually never age at all.  Sounds good on the surface but our EB takes this into account, and as a result our long service leave only accrues every 50 years.

    And what’s with the name?
    You know, this all started off as a lark and got a bit out of hand.  One Christmas Eve I had too much to drink, and my nose went just a little red.  So the other reindeers, and Santa, started giving me heaps about it, and it sort of stuck. 

    I suppose though, that “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is better than “Rudolph the half-pi**ed Reindeer” which was probably more accurate at the time.

    And were you pleased that it was made into a song?
    Well, I was certainly surprised.  I quite like the song, it’s got a good catchy tune, but the lyrics are a bit contrived.

    I mean, supposedly putting me at the front to light the way with my red nose on a foggy Christmas Eve? 

    Really, the North Pole Council organisation is a pretty big outfit.  They can afford headlights on the sleigh.  This was just another wind-up from the other reindeers.  Can you imagine our insurance allowing a sleigh to operate at night with no lights, with just the glow from a nose?  Seriously, the Scheme would be on us like a seagull on a chip.

    But, the song raised my profile in the organisation, so I can’t complain.

    What’s next for you?
    Well, I’m happy here for the moment, but of course I always keep my eyes open for any new opportunities.  Apart from the run up to Christmas, my time is fairly free during the rest of the year for other projects. 

    Taryn from LG Professionals keeps in close contact, and gives me a call from time to time.   She wanted me to help out at the last conference but we just couldn’t make our schedules line up.  Maybe next year, as I hear 2015 is going to be huge!

    Do you have an embarrassing local government moment?
    Didn’t I mention the red nose thing?

    How do you spend your leisure time away from the office?
    I go to the Gym, play a bit of tennis  (not easy with hooves but I still have a mean forehand) and I like to relax in front of the TV. 

    Any advice for aspiring reindeers?
    Well, constant professional development is important, especially through LG Professionals.  Even as a reindeer, it’s essential to keep “sharpening the saw” to perform at your best. 

    Oh, and sometimes having a few drinks after work actually turns out for the best…..

  • 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.

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