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  • 19 Nov 2015 9:06 PM | Anonymous

    When the City of Salisbury was announced the winner of the Management Challenge at the LG Professionals Awards Night - there was a deafening roar of screaming, whooping, and even some crying.  And that was just from the other teams!

    Seriously though the Salisbury team were very excited to win the award - so we were keen to chat to one of the team to see how the win would benefit the team members - and the council in general.

    We caught up with Ebony Krumins for a chat.

    Hi Ebony - What's your current role at Salisbury?
    Learning and Development Support Officer

    Your team won the State Management Challenge this year - how did you feel about that?
    Incredibly grateful. We never went into the challenge with the sole focus or expectation being on winning. We were so proud of the journey, achievements and the way we performed - winning was just the cherry on top.

    Why do you think you were successful?
    I personally believe it was the attitude we went in with on the day. We backed the development we had been through, we were organised, we knew the way our team worked best and we entered the day with a ‘let’s rock this challenge but really enjoy the day’ type of attitude.

    Was there any part on the day of the challenge that was especially memorable for you?  Why does it stick in your mind?
    It was the friendliness, humour and openness of information/knowledge sharing from all of the councils. It absolutely made the day that everyone wasn’t so caught up in the ‘competition’ that they couldn’t share a smile or laugh. A few tasks required collaborative work across a few teams and the way everyone shared information without hesitation or purposeful restriction of knowledge due to fear and ‘competition’ is one memorable component of the day that has stuck with me.

    How do you think you will benefit, personally, from participating in the challenge?  Has it changed your career aspirations?
    The personal and professional development has been significant. I have an improved confidence in my professional ability and have now shifted what I considered my development areas (public speaking etc.) into an area that I don’t dislike as much!
    The relationships and networks built across my own organisation and within the local government sector is something I’m grateful for as a result of the challenge and see being very beneficial.

    It hasn’t changed my career aspirations per se, but has identified that there is still a lot of room for development should I wish to pursue a leadership role. Exciting journey ahead!

    How do you think the City of Salisbury benefits from having staff participate in the challenge?
    There are numerous benefits for the organisation.
    •    The cross organisational sharing/transfer of knowledge (corporate knowledge and other learnings). We had many staff members deliver training sessions on their areas of expertise.
    •    By having staff participate from all areas of the organisation, the challenge assists in the breaking down those natural ‘silos’ we all work within.
    •    The challenge touches on actual issues that the local government sector is facing, creating a broader understanding of what’s happening.
    •    Enables staff to build a relationship with executive.

    Have you seen a change in the team members since the challenge? 
    We are hungry for further development and opportunities and excited for the next challenge.

    What advice would you have for a Council considering putting in a team for next year's challenge?
    Do it. 100%. Take the challenge. Encourage your staff to strive and do something that challenges and excites them. Use it to engage challenge members and other staff to share learnings!

    It is one of the most terrifying, challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had in my career so far and would strongly recommend it to everyone.

  • 19 Nov 2015 8:55 PM | Anonymous

    We recently took the opportunity to chat to Matt Pinnegar, the new CEO of the LGA SA.  We were keen to understand Matt's approach to this role and his plans for the LGA, but we also wanted to know a bit about him as well. 

    Matt's straight-talking approach makes for very interesting reading....

    Hi Matt - What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    CEO of LGA SA.  The Local Government Association provides services, support and leadership to SA Councils for the benefit of the community. It is recognised as the peak representative body for Local Government in this State and prides itself on being the Voice of Local Government South Australia. The Association provides leadership to councils and representation outwards to State and Federal governments and other key stakeholders. 

    Where were you before this role? (i.e. what is your work background/career path so far)
    I was the external affairs manager for BP in South Australia working on an offshore exploration program. Prior to this I worked in the state government as an adviser and Chief of Staff to the Minister for Transport Energy and Infrastructure and before this I was a ministerial adviser to Rory McEwen Minister for State and Local Government relations.
    What skills and experience from your career background will be most relevant to the LGA CEO  role?
    A strong understanding of state and local government, strategy,  advocacy and intergovernmental relations. From my time with BP I hope to bring some of the culture, values and behaviours of a super major that has existed since the early 1900's.

    What attracted you to the LGA role? 
    I am passionate about South Australia. Local government is the sphere closest to communities and I want to assist the local government sector get better for the benefit of the communities we enable. I have worked with local government for most of my career and have always respected the sector.

    What motivates you? - what will you find most interesting or exciting about working with the local government sector?
    I am dealing with South Australia's community leaders on a daily basis. Everyday I work with people who are passionate about making South Australia better. The sector has a fantastic and diverse skill set and the challenges and opportunities are rich and varied.

    Speaking about your current role - what is your plan for your first 12 months?  What do you want to have achieved in this role by Christmas, 2016?
    By Christmas 2016 I hope to have met with as many council members as possible. I also hope to have secured a greater role for communities in the proposed planning reforms and progressed a new strategic plan for the Association to be endorsed in January. A governance review should also be well underway by then.

    Personally, who is Matt Pinnegar as a person?  What do you like to do with your leisure time - and how would your friends describe you?
    I got married in my second week of the job and had a Monday off!  My son is 15 and I enjoy spending time with him and guiding him through some of the most important years of his life. I love music and spend leisure time listening out for hidden gems in new artists.

    Do you have an embarrassing 'work moment' that you can share?
     I didn't know how to tie a tie when I started at the LGA! I have progressed to a half Windsor with the help of YouTube but still need a  mirror. Thank you to everyone that helped tie my ties until this job.

  • 22 Sep 2015 4:18 PM | Anonymous

    CONNECTING YOUR COMMUNITY: A better vision for the future of citizens, business and government.

    Imagine the day in the life of a council manager in the future… On your way out the door, you run into your neighbour who tells you how great the new council portal was when he submitted his building plans. He was also able to look up tree removal guidelines and book an on-site inspection for the next day.

    In the office, you take a look at the month’s data reports – parking fines, rubbish collections, pet registrations, library usage…you can see how your council is tracking against other months, and also against other local governments. It’s interesting to look at the fleet management stats – since you introduced the new ‘safe driver’ system, costs have been cut by a quarter and WH&S compliance is a breeze.

    Then it’s time to meet with the social media guys, who have come up with a great new app for identifying dumped rubbish and graffiti. Now locals can simply snap a photo and send it – you can pinpoint the location of the problem from the geo-tag and send someone out there to sort it out.

    Another team provides a demo of the new smart bins. Council workers won’t have to waste time checking them individually now – thanks to the inbuilt sensors, workers will be alerted when a particular bin is full and can then empty it.

    For morning tea, you head to the local bakery, noting on the council’s parking app the closest free spot. The bakery has been nominated for ‘Best Vanilla Slice’ in the area. You can vote on the council app, online or on Facebook, and customers can also check out their scores for food handling. Council has provided free Wi-Fi all down the main street, which makes it even easier.

    While there, you log on and check out some of the virtual communities that are springing up in the local area. There are groups for everything from dog walking to free fruit sharing. You receive an alert on your phone letting you know that today‘s the last day to enroll your son in kinder and book his next check with the local maternal health centre. They share information with your GP, so all records are updated at the same time. Handy being able to do it all from the one place, rather than making endless phone calls.

    Then it’s back home to finish off that report – with access to information on the go, you can even hold a web conference with a counterpart in another state.

    Back to the present
    At Telstra, we call this vision for the future, Connected Communities. It may sound futuristic, but the reality is that much of the technology and the platforms behind it already exist today.

    At its heart, the vision is all about making connections. Being deeply social, we thrive on the feeling of connection to other people. We want to feel the sense of community we remember from the good old days.

    In some ways, technology has come to be seen as the enemy of community. But as digital technology exponentially expands the possibilities for connecting with one another, the balance is shifting back the other way. Technology can now bring us closer in safer, more welcoming, energised, more efficient and liveable communities.


    A Connected Community is one in which citizens, businesses and local governments can come together through digital engagement to revitalise business and public spaces, be more competitive, attract investment, promote safety and security, share in better public amenities, promote sustainable living, and encourage tourism, visitation and a strong local economy.

    Every Connected Community is different, but they are all places that improve quality of life and connectedness. Connected Communities offer smart technology solutions – working separately and together – to address the challenges faced by urban, rural or regional populations.

    Of course, much coverage over recent times has been devoted to the roll-out of smart mega-cities, with massive investment in smart electricity grids, public transport and more. All well and good for those with multibillion dollar budgets, but how does this translate on a local government level?  Working within real budget constraints, the question is, how can we leverage the best of the latest technology to connect the local community, manage council resources, and serve local citizens and businesses better? And it is possible. With the consumerisation of IT – the way apps and social media and other platforms are increasingly entering the workplace – the barriers to entry are lowering by the day.

    It’s about people, not just technology
    Of course, while it’s intriguing to think about the applications of technology to such issues as street lighting, rubbish bins and transport, let’s not forget the real reason we need to connect our communities: people. It’s about making meaningful differences to the daily life of the local business or resident – about making engaging with council as easy as possible and streamlining services so that things ‘just happen’.

    It’s about making the business of government easier too –through products and services to enable collaboration, sensors to automate processes, and analytics to provide insight. Gathering information about the city, and encouraging its use, helps councils to learn, plan and innovate.

    Underpinning all this are resources such as secure, high-performance, network infrastructure (something we know a bit about at Telstra) as well as technology solutions, such as apps and messaging platforms, that may be integrated with community assets (lights, bins, parking, schools, libraries, etc.)

    From A to B and beyond
    The vision is a powerful one. Getting there, though, is no small challenge. Budgets, skill sets and knowledge are critical, but in most councils all have to come from the same small pool of resources. Meanwhile, technology – the enabler – is changing at a pace too fast for individual organisations to keep up. Multiple vendors need to be managed, while the latest digital innovations need to be integrated to work as an effective whole.
    So what’s the best way to move forward?

    At Telstra, we believe that small, measurable, achievable steps can pave the way to a truly Connected Community.  With the right partner beside you, you can take simple steps to get more value out of the data you do have, to open up new and better channels of citizen engagement and create efficient processes, sustainable over the long term.

    Technology should not stand between you and your vision for your city. Instead, it should be the bridge between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.

    In a Connected Community.

  • 14 Aug 2015 10:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How long has your council been participating in the Rural Management Challenge?

    We have been participating for three years.

    What attracted you to participate in the first place and what keeps you coming back?

    It is a fantastic opportunity for staff to develop and step outside their comfort zone.   It also allows staff from all areas of Council to work together, get to know each other and learn more about what each other does.

    What did you put in place to enable team members to take the time out required to prepare and participate in the Rural Management Challenge?

    Once we registered the team, we allocated weekly meetings over a period of six weeks.  This enabled the team to build their relationships, get to know each other and establish their team values and name.  They had the time to look at the pre-challenge task and information that was provided and work at building a profile for the mock Council.  Whilst it can be an intense period, with appropriate support and encouragement, it is a worthy development opportunity for staff.

    Who were the members of your team and what roles do they have in council?

    We had the following employees participate:

    •  Business Improvement Officer;
    •  HR Officer;
    •  Development Officer x 2;
    • Patrol Grader;
    • Visitor Information Coordinator.

    In 2014, we had the first outside Council employee participate in the challenge and it was extremely beneficial for all.  He totally stepped out of his comfort zone and really gelled with the team.

    Did participating help with cross council relationships?

    Yes, definitely.  Our Council is spread over four offices and four depot locations with many employees not having face to face contact with each other.  It was a great way to put a face to a name and build work relationships between departments.  It also gave us a better understanding and appreciation of the varied skills of our employees.

    The challenge really encourages the connection and appreciation of the various skills our employees possess.  This connection is important to employee relations and builds up morale and allows transfer of knowledge.  Each employee was able to come away from the challenge with a new appreciation of their own skills and knowledge base and the confidence to use it.  This can only benefit Council.

    Which team member stood out in the area of transformation and growth as a result of participating?

    One of our Patrol Grader’s participated and his role requires him to work solely on his own with little contact with other departments, which is normally limited to training and/or social events.  He was very much out of his comfort zone but during the team exercises before the challenge was able to contribute and build on his own skills.  He was very nervous the morning of the challenge but rose to the occasion beautifully, participating and contributing to all the challenge tasks.  I think he would also say he gained an appreciation of the work and skills needed to do the work of the inside staff member.

    What have been the key benefits to both team members and your council?

    As mentioned earlier many staff never get the opportunity to interact with each other through normal day to day operations (or have never even seen each other pre-challenge). The challenge really throws a diverse mix of people together, which helps to create a greater knowledge of all the roles within a Council. Due to the intensity of the Challenge, these relationships remain strong back in the workplace after the Challenge is over.

    Improved internal communication between the staff participating in the Challenge, greater depth of knowledge for the team members on how Council works as a whole and improved staff satisfaction of the participants – they feel valued, have experienced the best form of training. This in turn should lead to better staff retention.   

    Can you provide some tips on how to get the most out of the Rural Management Challenge?

    Some preparation meetings are the key.  Have a look at the data that is provided, build a profile for the fictitious council, make it a fun event, and really step outside your comfort zone.  This is about challenging yourself.  If you are afraid of public speaking, this is the time to step up and present.  It truly is a fun and rewarding experience.

    Do you think rural councils thinking of participating for the first time would benefit from having another council mentor them?

    Yes, it is an invaluable experience to work with a mentor.  Engaging someone who is willing to share some secrets and assist your team to push themselves and strive high, I would highly recommend. 

  • 22 Jul 2015 11:07 AM | Anonymous

    Do you need a 'third space'?

    Yes, you do - and it’s already paid for!

    The idea of third space has caught the imagination of numerous commentators, researchers and managers over the last few decades.  The concept emerged in 1982 when the importance of stress free spaces were realised as providing a valuable place for relief from the pressures of work and home (the two other places). 

    Social spaces away from the dominant life paradigms can provide an environment which can enhance social relations, create a supportive community and help build resilience as tensions at work and home wax and wane.

    A valuable place between work and home?  Many people probably see their 'third space' as the local pub! 

    But a creative space - designed for stimulating thinking and personal development - is going to do more for your career in the long run!

    The Leadership Lab at the University of Adelaide  is your third space – and access to it is included in your membership!

    What can you do there?
    •    Take time out to think- develop new ideas, work on your own personal development.
    •    A space to get away from your daily work environment to work on new plans and strategies.
    •    Attend sessions on key topics, get involved, discuss.
    •    Study time – the range of resources is staggering and just a few hours there will have you energised and motivated.
    •    Got a meeting in the City?  Use the Lab as your 'base' to go to - before or after your meeting.
    •    Engage with others – inside and outside the sector.  Widen your interactions with other thinkers/leaders and engage, learn from them and share your own knowledge and experience with others.
    •    Hold small team building/development sessions (not for everyday meetings – but leadership/strategic planning meetings such as brainstorming and visioning). To discuss holding a small team session, please contact Mel at

    The Leadership Lab is designed to facilitate interaction and discussion – it’s a less formal space than a meeting room.

    And if you don’t want to come in on your own – that’s fine, you are allowed to bring a guest.

    How come we get to use this for free?
    LG Professionals SA is a sponsor of the lab – so as part of our sponsorship, our members have access to it and all of its facilities..

    Sounds great!  How do I do this?
    Once you are a member of the Leadership Lab, just come in anytime to use the lab and resources - or if you are holding a meeting, get in touch with Sarah McGregor (Lab Manager) to let her know when you are planning to come in to make sure there’s not a conflict.

    Just register as a member of the Leadership Lab and you are underway.  To register, simply contact Mel at It costs nothing (if you are a member) so get cracking!

  • 29 Mar 2015 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    Local Government employees are blessed to work in an industry that actively provides opportunities for career development. However, that does not mean you can leave it to the organisation to manage your career. You alone are responsible for managing your career and like anything in life, you need to work hard to get there.

    Be active and take control or you may find yourself in a 'comfortable' job and not in a fulfilling career.

    The issue most people are faced with when thinking about career goals is how to get started? What is your dream job and how do you get there? Start by asking yourself hard hitting questions and be prepared to answer them.

    What experience do I need?

    In recruitment we often tell candidates they didn’t get the job because they were “out experienced”. This is the catch 22 of how to get the job without the experience and how do I get the experience without the job.

    What qualifications do I need?

    You must be prepared to undertake further study. Open Universities are a good option especially when working full time. You don’t want to lose your foot in the door by having to step out to study.

    Do a skills audit – what are you good at and what do you not excel in. 

    Be honest! You need to see yourself as others see you. And if you don’t like what you see then change it.

    Take advantage of professional development opportunities that are offered to you.

    Most organisations will offer professional development in ways of conferences, training courses or even qualification enhancements. Be sure to find out what is available.

    Have a mentor.
    This should be a person that you respect and knows you well – and also knows your profession well. It may take some time to investigate the right person.

    The “soft skills” are essential. 

    Soft skills are sometimes the hardest to acquire.  Empathy, good communication and the ability to confront conflict are essential. If you don’t have these you will never be a people manager.

    Don’t chase dollars

    A job title, the size of the office and money do not give happiness – beware of competing with others for the sake of it – be true to yourself!

    Understand how those organisations recruit.

    Understanding the recruitment structure will help you get in front of the right people.

    Who can help you?

    Don’t be afraid to seek help from outside parties or recruitment consultants who work within your sector. They know the in’s and out’s and have relationships with those stakeholders you want to get in front of. But make sure they are someone who knows the market, who has experience in your profession and is interested in building a long term relationship with you. 

    Remember it’s not a straight line to get to there.

    Understand that your dream job may not come straight away, and put a plan in place to stay motivated in between.

    AME would be pleased to discuss how we can assist you with your career development. We can be contacted on 08 8228 3800 or at

  • 25 Feb 2015 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    The extent of a tenant's responsibility to maintain their premises under a lease is often an area of concern for both landlords and tenants, and is not always easy to determine. 

    Councils are typically responsible for an array of properties either owned by the council, or under its care and control.  It is important for councils to ensure their lease agreements are regularly reviewed, and that those properties are regularly inspected to ensure their tenants are not only complying with their maintenance, repair and replacement obligations, but also, to ensure that all maintenance works have been properly completed in accordance with all relevant laws and standards.

    Where a tenant neglects its maintenance obligations, then this raises safety concerns and financial risks for both the tenant and the council.  Where a tenant has failed to comply with its maintenance obligations, councils may inadvertently incur costs from undertaking the maintenance obligations in default of the tenant.  These costs may or may not be ultimately recovered from a tenant and may be contingent on any financial security provided under the lease, and the financial viability of the tenant. 

    If you would like advice in relation to risk minimisation under your lease agreements, and how the maintenance obligations of both the landlord and the tenant can be structured for improved understanding and transparency, please contact Janine Carroll on 08 8210 1265 or or Jessica McNamara on 08 8210 1215 or

  • 25 Feb 2015 11:50 AM | Anonymous

    Creating Efficiencies - Resource Sharing

    A very enthusiastic discussion took place at the last GM Network meeting on 23rd January 2015 about how General Managers from across the region could work together and derive benefits from closer cooperation.

    One of the ideas debated was the sharing of personnel resources. As you all know, South Australia has 68 Councils of varying sizes, all of which have a significant number of internal and external services / functions to perform no matter the size of the council. These services frequently require individuals with specialised skills or experience but may not necessarily represent a full time resource for a particular council.

    In these circumstances GM’s need to decide:-
    •    whether to undertake the work by using an employee who has a different role and therefore may not be fully skilled / experienced in the given field
    •    appoint a specialist / experienced member of staff and underutilise them or ask them to undertake other work for which they may not be fully experienced or qualified
    •    appoint external consultants
    •    make do /  not undertake the service or function

    I imagine all Councils are under cost pressures and are seeking ways to achieve efficiencies. Resource sharing would provide significant opportunities to reduce overall costs yet result in higher quality outputs.

    Whether you work for a larger council and already have someone appointed in a particular position who is not 100% utilised or you are in a smaller council with a requirement for say 30% to 50% of a particular skill set there are benefits to  resource sharing.

    Sharing a resource is likely to lead to:-
    •    better utilisation of specialised members of staff
    •    appoint of higher skilled (more expensive) specialists to obtain better advice and services
    •    cost savings by utilising current staff 100% between two or more councils
    •    cost savings by utilising employed staff as opposed to external consultants
    •    retaining valued knowledge and skills within councils by using employed staff not consultants

    The above would apply to individual employee appointments but could equally apply to specific back office services eg payroll. I consider this is a real opportunity for many of us and the solution could be fairly simple by registering an area where particular skills or resources are required and matching the requirement with another council who has spare capacity or who also has a similar requirement.

    I would be grateful to hear from any of you who consider there could be a benefit in this collaboration and would like to discuss this further. From the response I can judge what interest there is among other GM’s and will be able to evaluate how we might take this forward in a more formal manner.

    Please let me know your interest by emailing me on or by calling me on 0447 026 098.

    Anthony Brown
    General Manager Corporate Services
    Rural City of Murray Bridge
    On behalf of the General Managers Network

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