This month we speak with Reece Harrison, one of this year's Emerging Leaders, who
currently works for the City of Charles Sturt as an Asset Management Co-ordinator.
Hi Reece - What’s your current role, and how long have you been doing it?
I’m currently working as the “Coordinator Asset Management” at the City of Charles Sturt (CCS) and have been in the role since January this year. I believe the technical term is a “n00b”.
When did you decide to get involved with Local Government? What attracted you to the sector?
Roll back 2 years and ask me if I was interested in Local Government involvement. A resounding no would be forthcoming from my ill informed mind.
A series of career events led me to short term contracting in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) space and I found myself working as a Business Analyst and then Project Manager at CCS.
I’m happy to confess that via a baptism of fire I have come to realise that Local Government is not what the poorly informed generally make it out to be. It is so diverse and provisions so many things that State and Federal Government instigate or govern.
I am now attracted to the sense of worth, growth and learning opportunities and the ability to make a difference where it matters.
What do you love about your role, and working for a council generally?
CCS is in the midst of a Asset Management System implementation so I’m loving the chance to apply my ICT, project and people skills to a significant change endeavour. In a former life I managed event production based logistics, operations and assets but have enjoyed the new learning journey surrounding community infrastructure assets.
We have a mammoth pool of asset management knowledge and my job is to focus it all in the one direction.
What would you be doing if it wasn’t working in local government? Why?
Most likely I would be somewhere in the education sector. I volunteer as a board director for an independent school. This challenge sees a mix of my training, governance and ICT experience being used to help an organisation that is committed to delivering quality educational outcomes to the next generation.
Whilst displaying my Lego train collection would be fun, it’s not going to pay the bills just yet!
What are you “famous” for?
I firmly believe I started the cuff link revival here in Adelaide. I have photos to prove I was using cufflinks in shirts when commuting to Sydney years before they became popular here again… honest!
Regurgitating sayings is a favourite past time so the two chart toppers at the moment are;
“Feedback; the breakfast of champions” (thanks Craig Daniel!)
“I reckon this calls for a white board moment”
Speaking of famous, have you ever met a famous person? Who was it, and what happened?
Working in the event production space for over 25 years has provided me many a celebrity moment however the most embarrassing happened at a recent Emerging Leaders reception event here in Adelaide.
Walking through the doors into the room I shook hands with one of the official welcoming party, made some basic small talk and thought to myself, “Gee, that voice sounded familiar”. Had I known it was our State’s Premier I would have at least said something more than “thanks for having me”. Not my finest moment!
What advice would you have for others seeking to get involved in local government?
Ignore the bad press, look for the good news stories and get involved in the movement that is about getting things done for the community at large.
What are your thoughts on the future of local government? What will it look like in 50 years? Will it still be around?
There are certainly a lot of conversations at the present regarding this topic! Recognising the history of how both Local and Federal Government came to be and what role all three Government tiers play in ensuring a balanced blend of National, State and Neighbourhood voice in the provision of community needs, I am left thinking about efficiencies of processes and systems.
We’re already seeing some great work with the G6 groups taking advantage of buying power, knowledge sharing and even some ICT systems. This approach keeps the local application of these initiatives governed with local needs as identified by the Council on the ground.
My sense is that the three tiers of Government will remain intact but what they deliver and how they deliver it may change. In the coming years I see sharing of services between Councils via regional hubs of skill, knowledge and systems could help retain great people, leverage buying power and keep processes consistent across multiple local Councils.
My 50 year vision is shaped somewhat by the notion that surely no one wants to live in a National Legoland where all the houses, roads and services look and feel the same. Not everyone wants a 32x32 stud baseplate to live on and in.
With this in mind my prediction is that Local Government is here to stay.