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  • 24 Jun 2011 9:36 PM | Anonymous

    Bree Hislop is the Governance Officer for the City of West Torrens.  She is also part of 2011's LGMA (SA) Emerging Leaders Program.

    Bree tells us a bit about her role in Local Government in this month's member profile:

    Hi Bree - thanks for being part of LGMA's newsletter this month.

    What’s your current role?

    I'm currently a Governance Officer at the City of West Torrens.

    How did you get into that role?

    I was able to trial life as a Governance Officer through a secondment position in 2008. I quickly recognised that the principles of accountability, transparency and continuous improvement closely reflected my own philosophies.

    What do you like best about the current job?

    There is ALWAYS something new to learn and, I must admit, it becomes slightly addictive.  A lot of our work is project based and it is very satisfying to see a new practice evolve to form part of an overall proactive governance program.

    What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

    I like to think of good governance principles and practices as a road map. Often we have an idea of where we would like to go and how to get there. The road map shows us where we are and where we should be - highlighting the obstacles and giving us options for the way forward. At some point, we all need to stop and ask for directions.

    What’s next for you?

    I'm thrilled to be participating in the LGMA Emerging Leaders Program this year.  I have enjoyed meeting other enthusiastic Local Government employees and draw a lot of motivation from working as part of a team.

    There are many opportunities at the City of West Torrens to explore and I have raised my hand to participate in new challenges to broaden my skill set.  I'm working towards a Masters in Business Information Management through UniSA which I am able to apply to my current roll on a day to day basis.

    I am hopeful for a long future in Local Government. If by chance I win the lottery, I may need to rethink this plan.

    Why did you become a member of LGMA (SA)?

    I became a member though the Emerging Leaders Program. I have been impressed with the commitment and dedication of existing LGMA members who have shown great support for the 2011 Emerging Leaders, offering their time, experiences and advice generously.

    Please describe a typical day for us…

    Luckily, there is no such thing as a typical day in Governance. Writing reports for Council, preparing for the appointment of new Authorised Officers, researching for a Freedom of Information application, providing training on the exercise of delegated powers and offering advice to employees are all common activities. Only one thing is certain - there is always a policy, patiently waiting to be reviewed.


  • 24 Jun 2011 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    Three local government CEOs from South Australia raised more than $5000 for homeless people by making Adelaide Zoo their home for the night on 16 June.

    The trio swapped their doonas and electric blankets for park benches and cardboard to support St Vinnies’ national CEO Sleepout which raises funds and awareness for the homeless.

    Peter Smith (Adelaide City Council), Andrew Johnson (Port Pirie Regional Council), and Mark Searle (Marion Council) joined more than 80 other CEOs from South Australia on a damp cold night among the zoo’s more permanent inhabitants.

    “There are more than 1000 homeless people in South Australia, most of who have been driven onto the streets by family breakdown, unemployment, drugs, alcohol and domestic violence,” Mr Smith said.

    “It was a privilege to raise money for these people through a sponsored sleepout and also to listen to some of their stories on the night.

    “Councils are in the business of caring for communities and it’s important that we all recognise the need to support other people and remember that breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness isn’t easy.”

    Presenter Theodora told a harrowing story of sexual abuse which forced her to leave home to live on Adelaide’s streets at 14.

    Now married and working as a swimming instructor, she has beaten drug dependency and broken the poverty cycle where she was unable to access benefits because she was homeless, all thanks to the intervention of St Vinnies.

    For Andrew Johnson, the experience of sleeping rough, if only for one night, brought home some of the day-to-day realities of living on the streets.

    “Nobody is going to sleep well on a bit of cardboard or a bench,” Mr Johnson said.

    “Add to that a poor diet, cold, the need to change clothes and keep clean, and everyday living becomes very tough."

    Australia has more than 100,000 homeless people, 30 per cent of which are children.

    This is only the second year the campaign has been run nationally and participant numbers increased by 300 to almost 1000.

    This increasing engagement from organisational leaders is a step towards helping people get off the street, Mr Searle said.

    “The more people become aware of the issue of homelessness and act to prevent it, the better for society as a whole,” Mr Searle said.

    “Marion, like many other councils, contributes to preventing homelessness through youth support services.

    “The sleepout was an important reminder that we must do whatever we can to help those who have to make the street their home.”

    Donations can still be made at www.ceosleepout.org.au


  • 22 Jun 2011 9:13 PM | Anonymous

    Building and maintaining our workforce

    the right people in the right places with the right skills doing the right jobs

    Written by: Sarah Poppy, Marketing and Communications Officer, City of Salisbury

    Photo: Skye Browne, Senior Coordinator Organisational Wellbeing and Sarah Poppy, Marketing and Communications Officer from City of Salisbury

    One of the key challenges facing Local Government now and in the future is the need to challenge, engage and retain critical staff.

    This was the central question of this year’s LGMA Management Challenge Pre-Challenge Task.

    In order to tackle this task the City of Salisbury’s team Future Proofed undertook significant local, national and international research into workforce planning and retention trends. This research was supplemented with a series of in house interviews, staff surveys and a review of council statistics to understand the specific challenges faced by the City of Salisbury.

    The national organisers of the LGMA Challenge chose four teams to present their pre-challenge task at the national LGMA Congress in Cairns in May. Our pre-challenge task was chosen as one of the top four submissions nationally. My colleague Skye Browne and I were the lucky two from our team invited to present our project at this prestigious event to around 400 senior management delegates and participate in a Q&A session with the other three teams. The four presentations were extremely well received by the audience.

    Each team was given 15 minutes to present the findings of their report. Our Action Plan was broken down into four areas of focus; reward and recognition, remuneration and benefits, career development and workplace culture. We highlighted one or two key initiatives under each focus area in our presentation.

    Surveys with our staff highlighted that reward and recognition is the number one way to retain staff and it plays a significant role in why they may choose to stay and not seek employment elsewhere. At the City of Salisbury there is a project team looking into a reward and recognition framework so our team have recommended the idea to develop guidelines for managers to use when rewarding and recognising staff.

    City of Salisbury has an excellent staff development program so our team have recognised that while it is important to continue to develop our staff there is scope to increase career pathway opportunities by working with other councils to investigate options such as secondments, resource sharing and employee pools. This is an opportunity to enhance career development opportunities while retaining staff within Local Government.

    Our report highlights the opportunity to improve our mentoring program by expanding it to an LGMA level to engage and grow leaders across Local Government.

    All of these areas we highlighted impact on workplace culture which ultimately impacts on staff morale. Retention comes from an employees connection to an organisation and its people.

    The key points we left the audience with were that in order to retain your staff it is vital to listen to their needs, collaboration is the key and that we need to work together as an industry to ensure that we have the right people in the right places with the right skills doing the right jobs.

  • 21 Jun 2011 10:02 AM | Anonymous
    Each month we place the spotlight on a country council or staff member.  This month we speak to Grant Humphries, Director, Corporate and Community Services at Mt Gambier.

    Hi Grant - thanks for spending time with us.

    What is your professional background?
    My entire career has been in local government spanning five different Councils over 36 years, initially in the Finance/Revenue areas.  I was appointed CEO of former Beachport District Council in 1988.

    What Council are you currently working at, and how long have you been there?
    I am currently the Director, Corporate and Community Services with City of Mount Gambier, a position I have held for 14 years.

    Why did you decide to work for a country/regional council?
    Having worked in both country and metro Councils, they all face similar challenges. However, I found early in my career that country councils offered more scope for the attainment of varying skills and experience, generally in local government. This enabled me to gain exposure in the varying roles in local government and advance my career prospects. These opportunities have somewhat diminished these days as roles within local government have become more specialised and of course Councils are fewer in number and are larger/have greater capacity.
    Having been born and raised in a country town I have an empathy for and enjoy living in a regional area.

    What are the key differences between a country council and metro?
    As stated previously, all Councils face similar challenges in meeting community expectation/demands, however I do consider country councils are still closer to their communities and are more about the traditional roles of local government. The tyranny of distance and adequately servicing large land areas is an ongoing challenge in regional areas that does not necessarily present in the closer settled, more compact metropolitan areas.
    In living and working in a regional area you are certainly not anonymous and are always made aware of what the communities views are on various local issues!

    What do you like most about your role?
    The diversity. My particular role is very diverse (some would say too diverse) which regularly presents different challenges – this is a double edged sword – in one respect it offers challenge/diversity however on the flip side achievement of objectives in the varying duties can be delayed due to other more immediate priorities. This can be frustrating.
    The connection and involvement with the local community, community organisations, sporting groups, etc, in the achievement of combined objectives is also a major source of satisfaction in my role.

    How would you describe working for a country council as a career development step?
    Working in regional councils was a major influence in my career development which I would encourage anyone to entertain. If you are prepared to move around there are opportunities in regional areas that would not necessarily present in the metropolitan area.
    I am sure the experience gained in smaller Councils in regional areas will provide anyone with a great grounding in the workings of local government at a grass roots level.

    What other involvement do you have in Local Government? (e.g. networks, affiliations)
    I previously served as President of the South East IMM (precursor to LGMA) Group some years ago.
    I just completed a 2 year term as Chair of the Civica Authority SA and NT  Local Government User Group.

    Why did you join LGMA?
    It was the Institute of Municipal Management (IMM) in those days!
    Having become a CEO at the age of 29 years in a reasonably remote location, pre internet days, I needed all the help and support i could get. LGMA (or IMM) provided me the opportunity to network with many other more senior and experienced local government officers who were always very willing to assist.

  • 24 May 2011 1:19 PM | Anonymous

    Jane is the Director, Corporate Development for the City of Salisbury, and a LGMA board member.  She gives us a little of her background and some wise words of advice.

    Hi Jane, thanks for talking to us.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself....

    What's your current role?

    I am currently working for the City of Salisbury as Director of Corporate Development.  I am responsible for the portfolio areas of People and Culture, Information Systems, Marketing and Communications, Governance and Customer Services and the Executive Office.

        How did you get into that role?

    I have over ten years experience in local government, primarily in the areas of corporate services.  My previous roles at the Cities of Playford, Unley and Burnside enabled  me to build  the skills, knowledge and capacity to apply for the Director Corporate Development role at Salisbury when it became available around 18 months ago.  I also have postgraduate qualifications in business management and have undertaken a number of leadership programs over recent years.

        What do you like best about the current job?

    I love that no day is ever the same.  I have great variety in my role.  From being engaged in strategic discussions about the future of the organisation, to mentoring women and emerging leaders, to working on multidisciplinary project teams and committees, to attending national LGMA board meetings or talking with staff about their work. I am still learning every day which keeps me engaged and interested.

    I feel very fortunate in my role. Salisbury as a larger Council, has the resources to develop and implement innovative and best practice projects.  We are also able to attract and retain talented staff as we offer competitive  working conditions,  excellent learning and development opportunities and challenging work.  I have a great team within my department who are skilled and passionate about their roles. They are rolling out innovative new programs that are making a difference for our workforce, organisation and the community. 

       What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

    I would say, try and get as much different experience as you can across the various disciplines of local government.  I moved around Councils and different roles, which prepared me for the diversity of the Director role I now hold.  Even though my interest lies in the Corporate Services arena, I  previously  did a stint as a GM of Corporate and Community Services, so I would understand the perspective of the external service provider within local government, not just the internal service provider.

     It's also important to invest in your development through leadership courses and relevant learning opportunities.  The LGMA offers some great programs for up and coming local government professionals including the LGMA Challenge and the Emerging Leaders Program.

    And, never underestimate the importance of networking. Having a diverse support network provides many benefits, particularly in an industry like  local government. You will always have a ready group of people, able to share information, provide advice and who can let you know when interesting opportunities arise.  


    What’s next for you?

    For now I am really enjoying my role and I still have a lot to accomplish at the City of Salisbury.  Later this year I will take on the role of President of the SA Division of the LGMA which will be a new and exciting challenge. I like working in local government for its diversity, opportunities and not least the people I get to interact with every day. So that's where I see myself for the immediate future.....



  • 22 May 2011 11:37 AM | Anonymous
    Each month we will place the spotlight on a country council and/or staff member.

    This month we speak to the Administrator of one of our fastest growing country areas - Bill Boehm from Roxby Council.

    What is your professional background?

    Bachelor Civil Engineering. Grad Dip Municipal Engineering, Building Surveying and Local Government Management.  30 years in Local Government in engineering, planning and management fields, all of which has been in rural and regional areas in Victoria and South Australia

    What Council are you currently working at, and how long have you been there?

    Administrator Roxby Council for past 12 years

    Why did you decide to work for a country council?

    Opportunity for wider civil engineering experience, in part to assist in a obtaining a the Municipal Engineers Certificate in Victoria, as well as an opportunity for a different non city lifestyle

    What are the key differences between a country council and metro?

    More intimate relationships with community generally and opportunity for children to have a more relaxed enjoyable lifestyle in a safe environment.  Many of metro features are accessible without the day to day hassles of traffic and busy nature of life generally

    What do you like most about your role?

    Ability and position to influence the way the Roxby Community operates now and into the future

    How would you describe working for a country council as a career development step?

    Excellent but it horses for courses.  Greater variety but may be perceived to be more difficult at a senior level to return to the City but lifestyle opportunities make it worthwhile

    What other involvement do you have in Local Government (e.g. networks, affiliations)

    Current Delegate to LGA and member Provincial Cities Association.  Current and previous board member of various regional associations. Current Regional Community Consultative Council and Port Augusta and Regional Health Advisory Committee.  Previous regional member on Country Arts SA and both Area Consultative Committee and Regional Development Boards

  • 02 May 2011 6:01 PM | Anonymous
    Each month we will place the spotlight on a country council and/or staff member.

    This month, we are speaking with Jessica Sharkie from the Adelaide Hills Council.

    Hi Jessica – thanks for spending a few minutes with us for our LGMA newsletter.  Can you start by telling us a bit about your professional background?

    What's your Current role?
    My title is: Community Development Office Coordinator and my role covers the areas of: Management of Community Grant Programs and Council’s Retirement Villages, coordination of a number of elements of the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program including volunteers and overseeing the general administration process’ for the whole department.

    How did you get into that role?
    The role has grown with me to a certain degree, as the position I moved to Adelaide Hills Council for was purely an administration role in the Home and Community Care Team. However coming from and events, marketing and volunteer management background it didn’t take long for other facets of the Community Services department to become part of my role and I was delighted at the opportunity to expand.

    What do you like best about the current job?
    I love the variety and that I have the opportunity to really make a difference.

    What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
    Go for it! Community Services/ Community Development in Local Government is a wonderful area to work in. Also, don’t be afraid of taking what might seem a side step to take one forward. I am thrilled that I made the move into Local Government and luckily through wonderful managers and a great team have been given the opportunity to shine.

    What’s next for you?
    I am about to embark on the Diploma of Management/Impact Leadership this May (eeekkk!)

    Why did you become a member of LGMA (SA)?
    I have joined the LGMA (SA) after recently participating as a team member of Adelaide Hills Council’s LGMA Management Challenge Team “The Hill Climbers” what an experience that was!

    Describe a typical day for us…
    Busy and varied! As noted above my role covers many aspects of the Adelaide Hills Community Services Department so during a typical day I will respond to needs from any or all of these areas: Home and Community Care Program (of which we have over 700 active clients), Coordination of the management of the Retirement Villages (Adelaide Hills Council owns a portfolio of 63 Retirement village units across six different sites), Community grant funding, volunteering matters, problem solving any sticky administration queries and consistent updates to both our internal and external websites.

  • 21 Mar 2011 5:25 PM | Anonymous
    Each month we will place the spotlight on a country council and/or staff member.

    This month, we are speaking with John Brak, CEO, Regional Council of Goyder.

    What's your current role?       
    Chief Executive Officer, Regional Council of Goyder.

    How did you get into that role?
    I was employed as the Planner for the Regional Council of Goyder and held qualifications and prior experience in Local Government administration.
    When the position of CEO became available I applied and the rest, as they say, is history.

    What do you like best about the current job?
    The challenge of managing a local community service organisation that is owned by, and accountable to the local community.

    What advice would you give to someone looking to get into a similar role?
    Have the support of your family to work the long hours that are expected of the position of CEO. Maintain and develop your sense of humor.

    What’s next for you?
    Enjoying the final two years on my employment contract and hopefully re-negotiating a further contract term of employment with Goyder.

    Why did you join the LGMA(SA)?
    I joined the LGMA (Lower North) Branch but things have been quiet for a while so have moved upward and onwards.

    Describe a typical working day.
    Arrive at work early before staff and telephones start working so that I can:
    •    Check diary to reaffirm the day’s program.
    •    Check emails received and prioritise/delegate responses.
    •    Check records and customer service requests booked out to me during the previous day and prioritise/delegate responses.

    Meet and greet the staff (so that they remember what I look like).

    Attend to scheduled and, more often, impromptu meetings with staff, elected members, community members etc.

    Stay at work late after staff and telephones stop working so that I can:
    •    Write meeting notes, correspondence, reports resulting from meetings.
    •    Check emails received for urgent attention.
    •    Check diary for the next day’s activities.

    Perhaps the above should be re-titled ‘an ideal working day’ as what usually happens is that some issue presents from left field and all the best made plans go west!

  • 21 Feb 2011 10:47 AM | Anonymous

    Each month we will place the spotlight on a country council and/or staff member.

    This month, we are speaking with Mary Deakin, General Manager, Corporate and Community Services, District Council of the Copper Coast.

    Hi Mary – thanks for spending a few minutes with us for our LGMA newsletter.  Can you start by telling us a bit about your professional background?

    My professional background is in business. I completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Management through external studies in 2009. I undertook a Bachelor of Commerce with University of Southern Queensland majoring in accounting. My previous field was in visual arts and I am still able to be involved in this area through community art galleries, art prizes and Council’s community function.

    What council are you currently with, and when did you start working there?

    I started working with the District Council of the Copper Coast as General Manager Corporate and Community Services in August 2009 after working with the Berri Barmera Council. My first role within a Council was at Tennant Creek Town Council.

    Why did you decide to work for a country council?

    Being born and raised in the country I have always had an affinity with the country. I enjoy living in the country and working in a small close knit community. I find country people supportive and keen to be involved in what is happening within the community. My children are able to get around town easily as it does not take long for them to work out where everything is. Everything is within close proximity, work, school, home and shopping.

    What’s different about working for a country council?

    Country Councils have a lot of cross over roles meaning that you have variety in your work. Managing both corporate and community means on any one day I can be involved in both areas - covering everything from libraries to finance, Occupational Health and Safety to art galleries. Having never worked in a metro Council it is difficult to compare the two. I believe that country is the best fit for me.

    What would you describe working for a country council as a career development step?

     Working in the country has enabled me to move forward in my career as I have been involved in most of the aspects of Council at one time or another. Working in one of the smaller Councils with only 25 staff meant my role covered many responsibilities and also gave me opportunity to back fill other positions. This has enabled to expand my experiences beyond those of larger metro Councils.

    What other involvement do you have in Local Government?

    I am currently chair of the Local Government Women’s Network, a member of Local Government Managers Association, Australian Local Government Women’s Association as well as various roles at a local level contributing to the local community and building the profile of local government.

  • 21 Feb 2011 3:05 AM | Anonymous

    Nick Leaver is Procurement Manager for the G6 group, which keeps him very busy indeed!  This month, Nick shares with us a little of his experience and background:
    1.     What's your current role?

    Title:     G6 Procurement Manager
    Responsibility: Develop and manage contracts that maximise group buying power and deliver greater benefits to SA Councils.
    Identify opportunities for “Super Council” value and support Council’s ability to provide independent excellence for our communities. 

    How did you get into that role?

    Procurement requires a combination of general management skills.  Alongside traditional skills of negotiation, contract and risk management, other soft communication skills are useful.
    My Previous Roles:
    Chief Procurement Officer (UK) contributing to construction projects including Royal Opera House, London Exhibition Centre, Swiss Re, MI5, and Heathrow T5.
    GM and Sales & Marketing Director roles in construction.
    Sales Manager, David Jones/ John Martin Retailers.  I still carry part of the Johnnies spirit with me.

    What do
    you like best about the current job?

    Working across Councils in the state and bringing people together who find better ways of doing things.
    Council has a refreshing level of collaboration and goodwill that I didn’t experience in the commercial sector.

    What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?

    As Procurement continues to mature in our sector, formal academic accreditation (CIPSA) is recognised as an important professional element.  SA is seeing good training options available for procurement and I’d recommend those that are given international credence, such as CIPS.
    5.     What’s next for you?

    The G6 has a pretty robust program that we plan to deliver over the next two years.  My primary focus is on the execution and delivery of our service, and consulting with our stakeholders to contribute to further excellence in Local Government. 

    6.     Describe a typical day for us…

    Typically we facilitate User Group meetings between our participating councils.  These meetings are at the heart of our operation; it’s here that positive synergies happen between our people.
    I also spend time listening to local government CEO’s and encouraging our top tier suppliers to help deliver innovative solutions to Councils’ strategic objectives.

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