• 19 Aug 2015 4:29 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Rebecca Tappert, Manager, Administrative Services for the Barossa Council.

    Rebecca has also been a business owner, an elected member, a participant in the Rural Management Challenge and a recent graduate of the Professional Leader's Program (PLP).  She shares her thoughts and insights on local government, the Rural Challenge and the PLP.

    Hi Rebecca - thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    My current role is Manager Administrative Services. My portfolio consists of leadership of the customer service team, management of our 19 external section 41 committees (!), management of Council’s Lease and Licence Agreements with many varied sporting and community groups, liaison with elected members through the facilitation of event management and community requests and various project / administration programs working with most internal groups of Council.

    I have always been a 'Jack of all trades' and while there is scope for specialty areas within local government, this role enables me to have lots of variety and breadth of focus areas which is something that really appeals to me.

    Where were you before? (i.e. what is your work background/career path so far)
    After 12 years in banking and finance with Adelaide Bank in IT projects and risk management Roles, I left the bank and moved to the Barossa to start a small business with my husband, BakerST Bakery in Williamstown.

    We have run our little shop for 8 ½ years now and only recently worked out that in that time, we have employed 25 locals! Something we are really proud of. Through my work at the bakery and involvement in the local 'main street committee', I was encouraged to run for the 2010 election and to my surprise, I was a successful candidate!

    What attracted you to local government, and your current role?
    My time as an elected member for council was fulfilling and just what I was looking for to give back to the community in which I was quickly becoming a part of. In fact, the passion for local government has only grown since then.

    After 2 years as an elected member, the opportunity for my role came up and after a very rigorous recruitment, I resigned as a member and was appointed to the staff.

    You were a participant in the Rural Challenge - and then went on to be a part of the Professional Leaders Program.  Can you comment on what prompted you to be part of the Challenge and then enrol in the PLP? 
    Having the privilege of wearing many hats (as lots of us do) has provided me with great grounding to have a community member, business owner, EM and staff perspective when looking at opportunities and always having the customer/community central to everything I do.

    For me, the Rural Management Challenge was a great opportunity to learn more about different areas of council that I had not been exposed to before. During the Challenge, based on a fictional council, we dealt with with unsightly premises, a workplace fatality and media controversy from an over exuberant Mayor!

    While we didn’t come away with the win that year, the team based working style was great to be part of.

    I had a great time on the PLP! The group of participants this year were great to work with and again, I got so much from hearing about other perspectives and problem solving techniques from different communities to my own.

    My favourite session was the strategic planning session, as The Barossa Council commences its Community Plan development, it has been great to mirror the learning from the PLP direct into working life. The challenge now is to decide if I continue on with any further study!

    What motivates you? - what do you find interesting or exciting about working in local government?
    Working with community members that results in constructive positive outcomes is what I find really rewarding.

    Being able to sell the benefits of an opportunity, whether it be to a community or sporting group or the elected members through a Council report and seeing that translate to real life implementation, drives satisfaction all round.

    The ever present challenge (whether perceived or not!) of council 'red tape' and actually making things happen, puts a smile on everyone’s face. Working with my customer service team to develop their skills and local government knowledge is also motivating for me, and hopefully them too!

    Speaking about your current role - people often think of the challenges in local government as being how to continue to service their changing communities - but how do you see the impact of greater legislation and focus on the administrative 'engine' of councils?  What are the key issues that councils will face?
    As I mentioned above, part of my role is interpreting that legislation and process for real community outcomes. I often say to community members, provide me with the information of your request and I’ll guide you through the process. I  guess together, we both have expertise in the outcome. They know what they want to achieve, I have to find a way to help them achieve it!

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I am really enjoying my role in the Barossa for now, who would want to leave such an amazing, community, food, wine, experience orientated place? And The Barossa Council? The culture is right in alignment with what I enjoy going to work for. So unless we have any more directors retire in the next five years….I don't think I am going anywhere!!!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
    I spend it with my husband and two boys, 11 and 8 who are footy mad. Between Barossa District Football Club commitments and our 2 weekly visits to the 'Portress', it leaves just about enough time for the vegie garden and mountain bike riding around the Southern Barossa!

  • 22 Jul 2015 10:56 AM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Tomas Alves, Community Learning and Outreach team Leader, City of Salisbury.

    Tomas explains his role, the role of libraries into the future, his fascinating background in TV in his native Brazil - and also discusses his experiences both as a participant and mentor in the Management Challenge.

    Hi Tomas, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I’m the Community Learning and Outreach Team Leader working for the Library and Community Centre Division. My role involves developing and coordinating library programming strategy to engage and meet the needs of our community.
    It’s a busy role that provides me with the opportunity to work collaboratively with other areas in council, as well as other community organisations and ultimately community members.

    Where were you before? (i.e. what is your work background/career path so far)
    After completing a Degree in Communication at university, I worked for not for profit organisations developing their marketing strategies. This experience provided me with a great appreciation for community based organisations that contribute ‘on the ground’ to community development.
    A few years later I was headhunted by Sony Pictures in Brazil to work in the marketing / TV production department. It was a really fun and fast paced environment which required a lot of traveling around South America and US. At Sony I had the chance to interview a few TV stars from popular shows at the time: ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Lost’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Criminal Minds’. It was really interesting to observe how that perceived glamour life was translated into a very professional behind the cameras work life.
    In 2007 I decided to leave everything behind to live overseas with my wife. So here I am in Adelaide, working for the City of Salisbury.

    What attracted you to local government, and your current role?
    I always had the desire to contribute to community development and participation. Local government seemed to be the best industry and I decided to volunteer for the City of Salisbury right after moving to Adelaide. From there the opportunities were just coming my way. A part-time employment led to a full time job, which then led me to my current team leader role. And I am very thankful for that!

    LGMA Management Challenge
    You’ve been involved with the LGMA Management challenge both as a participant and now as a mentor for the City of Salisbury team.  What do you see as the key benefits to you personally and to Salisbury of participation in the management challenge? What did you learn from your mentor role?
    I’m proud to be part of both Salisbury winning teams – first as a team member in 2012, then as a mentor in 2015. The LGMA Management Challenge is taken really seriously at City of Salisbury with a well-structured professional development program. That is where, in my view, the benefits come from.
    As a participant I was exposed to various areas of our organisation and learnt a lot about strategies, leadership, process and procedures within the local government context. The availability and interaction with senior management provided me and other team members with invaluable insight and information about our own organisation and the local government industry.
    As a mentor it’s all about sharing the experience and providing guidance when needed. Although it’s not a hands-on role, it certainly gave me a chance to observe and understand about team development and team dynamics. The 2015 LGMA Salisbury Management Challenge Team – CosMosis – was a really good team to work with and I learnt a lot from them.
    What motivates you? - what do you find interesting or exciting about working in local government?
    I think what motivates most people who work in local government is the passion to work with and for the community. We all want the best for our communities; especially because we are part of it ourselves. I find it extremely rewarding mapping out community profiles, community needs and service delivery. This is very dynamic as people and needs change more often than we think!

    Speaking about your current role - people have been talking about the potential demise of libraries for years, as books and content become more available online - but of course this hasn't actually happened.  What are libraries doing to remain at the core of communities?
    Libraries are seen as a truthful institution by community members. It is that welcoming place that congregates people from all walks of life, supporting community engagement, learning activities and social participation. To remain relevant libraries have always been able to respond to changes and adapt service delivery to meet community needs.
    Delivering information, technology and learning for people is what we do best. And as advances occur in technologies, libraries will always be able to embrace it and provide customers with access to knowledge and information supporting participation, innovation and well-being.
    Personally, what’s the longer term plan? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    Local government has provided me with some great professional opportunities and I am working hard on my professional development – currently doing the Emerging Leaders Program – to pursue a Manager role in the future.

    Do you have an embarrassing 'Local Government moment'?
    It’s hard to choose one that I can actually share!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
    Spending family time with the kids (3yo and 6 months), having friends over for special Brazilian food, and playing soccer at least once a week.

  • 19 Jun 2015 9:12 AM | Anonymous

    This month we speak we Paul Rogers, Depot Administration Officer at the District Council of Kimba.

    Paul explains the challenges of working in one of SA's most remote councils.

    Hi Paul - thanks for speaking with us. 

    What's your current role, and what does it involve?
    My current role is Depot Administration Officer, and being in a small rural Council it involves many aspects including assisting with Procurement / WHS & Risk Management / Aerodrome Management / CWMS Management / Training etc. Anything that relates to the Works Department is within my role.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I was with Country Health SA, employed as a Senior OHSW Consultant assisting six Health Units. To be honest, I "fell into" my current role. I left health with a promise of a career in mining.  This didn't eventuate and thankfully,  Council had a position available.

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government, especially in a rural council? Assisting with maintaining and developing infrastructure that benefits the local community which I work and live in.

    Speaking about your current role - What are the key priorities in creating and maintaining the many assets and public works for Kimba?
    I would suggest maintaining and upgrading the 1500 km of unsealed road network within our council area would be a very high priority, along with the sealed roads both inside and outside of town. Waste and CWMS management would also be high on the list.

    As one of SA more remote councils - what challenges does this present and how have you managed those challenges?
    Probably the main challenge would be accessing adequate funding to maintain and upgrade roads, senior management have this as a high priority and are striving to keep it on the radar of those who allocate funding.

    You are currently enrolled in the Emerging Leaders Program.  What attracted you to this program - and what do you hope to achieve from it?
    I was attracted to the program by the opportunity to further my education and development. My primary goal was to learn more about how the LGA functions, and how I can perform better within the organisation.

    How are you finding it so far?
    It has been enjoyable and challenging. Any learning that involves self-reflection and insight into existing perceptions can be difficult, but invaluable.

    Do you think the networking connections you are making with fellow colleagues will benefit you in the future?  How?
    The networking could potentially be the most beneficial outcome from the course. To work and learn from and with such a diverse group of people from a variety of occupations and workplaces/cultures will benefit me greatly in the future, either in my current role or a future role. The larger the network of people/resources you can draw from the more advantageous it will be.

    We heard that you recently caught up with your cousin, our LG Professionals President Andrew Aitken at an ELP dinner - and it was a surprise as you didn't know he was involved!  How was that?
    It was great to catch up with 'cuz'. Although from very different backgrounds, we were quite close when younger, but haven't seen each other for about ten years. I look forward to meeting again later in the year at the program culmination.

    Personally, what's the longer term plan - where do you see yourself in 5 years? Within Local Government, my goal would be to utilise my WHS skills and experience at a higher and broader level, facilitating systems across multiple councils. As to whether this eventuates, watch this space!!!!

    Do you have an embarrassing 'Local Government moment?'
    None that come to mind, probably haven't been with Local Government long enough to initiate a major disaster, this may occur in time!!!

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    I enjoy many pastimes, but have a passion for fishing, camping and all things woodwork, including furniture restoration.



  • 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!

Mailing Address:  5 Hauteville Tce EASTWOOD SA 5063   Phone: 8291-7990;   Email: admin@lgprofessionalssa.org.au

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