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

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

    Hi Kate, thanks for speaking with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 21 Aug 2014 4:38 PM | Anonymous

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

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

    Hi Howard, thanks for speaking with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 21 Jul 2014 10:20 PM | Anonymous

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

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

    Hi Lorraine, thanks for speaking with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Do you have an embarrassing “Local Government moment?”

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

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

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

  • 13 Jun 2014 2:52 PM | Anonymous

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

    Hi Sarah, thanks for speaking with us.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How do you bring the community along in the journey?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Do you have an embarrassing "Local Government moment?"

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

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

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

  • 21 May 2014 5:43 PM | Anonymous

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

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

    Hi Mark - thanks for speaking with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hi Jodie - thanks for speaking with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hi Vincent, thanks for speaking with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • 24 Jan 2014 3:32 PM | Anonymous

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

    Hi Julie, thanks for speaking with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 23 Jan 2014 12:28 PM | Anonymous

    This month we speak with Dustin Georgeson, Acting Team Leader Building and Compliance at the City of Onkaparinga.

    Dustin tells us about his background, some trends in Building and Compliance and how sometimes trying to do the right thing can get you squirted with a hose!

    Hi Dustin, thanks for speaking with us.

    What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
    I am currently Acting as the Team Leader Building & Compliance for our Development Services Department. It involves keeping up to date with legislative requirements to ensure our teams are well equipped to deal with any issues that arise. Development Compliance is a major part of my role where we aim to educate residents but also ensure community safety is achieved.

    Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
    I started out at Onkaparinga sweeping floors in our Field Operations Centre store, I have always looked to further my education and challenge myself in new ways. The challenges in a regulatory field seemed like a good idea at the time…

    What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
    Interactions and helping people, with such a broad range of services and such diverse communities I love being involved in different projects and tasks. Giving people a positive experience when dealing with sensitive matters is very satisfying that helps put the City of Onkaparinga in a good position to be respected by the Community.

    Speaking about your current role – what are the key trends in building,  and compliance, in 2014?  How will this change in the future?
    With information readily available at everyone’s fingertips we are finding that residents are wanting to take on their own development projects. People are finding their own information and are trying to be better prepared throughout the assessment process.  In the future I predict a lot of dodgey building work! :)

    Personally, what’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    I really enjoy working in Local Government and plan to keep it that way. I hope that my passion for leadership is recognised and I am given the role of CEO!  (ok maybe I will take a Management position instead.....)

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
    Trying to “educate” a member of our Community about electronic signage and getting an uninvited shower with a hose…..

    How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
    With my beautiful wife Nikki and two incredible kids Kai and Eva, who are 5 and 2, this helps with staying in shape as I also play local amateur football.

  • 15 Dec 2013 11:31 AM | Anonymous
    This month we speak with Evelyn Pollard, Manager Human Resources and Service Centre at the City of West Torrens.

    Hi Evelyn - thanks for speaking with us.

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

    My current role is Manager Human Resources and Service Centre, where I am responsible for  customer service, human resources, work health and safety, injury management and public liability.

    Why did you decide to work in Local Government?

    Wow, given that was some 22  years ago it is probably more appropriate to talk about the diversity and opportunities that I have been given within local government which have contributed to why I have stayed within the industry. 

    I have experienced some unique and rewarding opportunities in my career to date.  When I reflect over the past three years in particular, there have been a number of fantastic career and development opportunities that I have taken up - some of which were quite risky for me at the time. 

    I am a believer of creating your own opportunities, taking a calculated risk and then reaping the benefits as a result.

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

    Local government has certainly seen some significant changes since I commenced. For me personally, the most satisfying aspects about working in local government is the ability to contribute to the ever changing landscape, helping to develop organisational capability and watching people grow as a result. 

    There are so many opportunities to be part of the business and to make a difference to those around you - both within the organisation, the industry and in the community - and I have been fortunate to experience all three.  

    I have also been fortunate also to work with, and be mentored by, some great people within local government.

    Speaking about your current role – There seems to be more focus on HR than ever before.  Do you think legislative change in recent years has made this function more challenging?   

    Yes there have certainly been some changes in the legislative arena in recent years which have kept us on our toes. . has it made the HR function for more challenging? 

    Perhaps with respect to the increasing levels of compliance, however change as a challenge, is less impacting as local government is constantly having to adapt, respond & innovate to meet community needs resulting in change being the way we do business. 

    Change is always happening around us, whether it be legislative, political, environment, financial or social.  It is how the organisation, and us as individuals, approach the change that is important. 

    Where HR is partnering strategically and innovatively across all areas of the organisation to meet these challenges, then the challenges appear small. 

    Having said that, I believe the biggest challenge for HR in the coming year(s) is to work strategically with senior management (and perhaps the industry) in addressing the future of enterprise agreements and future wage increases. 

    What would be your “top 5” pieces of advice to councils about recruitment and retention?

    Each council has its own unique environment and my view is that a one size fits all approach is not achievable.  My philosophy in terms of recruitment and retention is to:

    •    Engage with your CEO & senior managers to formulate a clear, concise & most importantly passionate belief around the importance of people to the business & commitment to stay fixed to this path
    •    Focus on the employment value proposition rather than recruitment and retention in isolation - you want people to talk about your employment value proposition.
    •    Align human resource management practices to the culture you are looking to achieve
    •    "Recruit hard and manage easy" - recruitment costs in time and money if you get it "wrong", ensure you take the time to select the right person for the position
    •    Ensure you have people in leadership positions that reflect the culture and direction of the organisation.  Leadership impacts on the culture which in turn impacts on the delivery of the organisational outcomes

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

    Five years is a long time! 

    My immediate focus is on the next 18-24 months, where I will have implemented a number of key strategic initiatives to ensure the organisation has the people capability to deliver a high level of public value into our community.  

    As with my career to date, I see myself continuing to take risks and explore opportunities within local government where I am able to enhance my skills, knowledge and experience. 

    Looking forward to 5 years from now, I have set my personal goal as fulfilling a General Manager/Director role within local government.

    What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?

    Oh I'm sure that there are some!   I will leave that up to others to share those stories.

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

    That would depend on my week!  It can range from laying on the sun lounge reading a good book with a glass of wine in hand, through to doing something which is adrenaline pumping. 

    I am known to seek out activities that are outside the "norm" that challenge me -  so yes the word "can't" is not in my vocabulary!

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