Sunday, October 6, 2019

Resignation valid despite irregular route

Margaret Johns at last month's council meeting.
THE resignation of former Derwent Valley councillor Rachel Power has been deemed valid despite being sent to the mayor instead of the general manager.

Mrs Power told ABC Radio on Wednesday that she had sent her resignation letter to mayor Ben Shaw.

The Local Government Act requires councillor resignations to be sent to the council's general manager, who then has the responsibility of advising the council and the Electoral Commissioner.

Acting general manager Margaret Johns has confirmed that she received Mrs Power's resignation via the mayor.

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission has accepted the resignation and started the process to fill the vacancy via a recount of Mrs Power's votes from last year's council election.

Meanwhile Ms Johns' appointment as acting general manager has been extended to October 9 while general manager Greg Winton is on leave.

At last month's council meeting held at Bushy Park, acting mayor Jessica Cosgrove invited Ms Johns to introduce herself to those present. Ms Johns said she had been seconded from the Hobart City Council.

"I originally came in to cover the vacancy of the executive manager for community and governance, which I had been doing for a period of time," Ms Johns said. "As you know, the general manager is on personal leave at the moment and the mayor appointed me to act in the role as acting general manager."

From the public gallery, former councillor Chris Lester asked the acting mayor for the total cost of what he described as a "general manager, acting general manager, and an apprentice". Cr Cosgrove referred the question to Ms Johns as an operational and staffing matter.

"At this point in time we have obviously a general manager and I am acting in that capacity at the moment," Ms Johns said. "The recruitment for a deputy general manager has not yet been finalised, the applications close I believe at the end of [September]."

Another former councillor, Wayne Shoobridge, asked about the role of the council's human resources officer given that inquiries and applications for the position of deputy general manager were directed to the general manager, and that councillors were to be appointed to assist in the interview process. Ms Johns said the human resources officer would facilitate the process and make sure human resource policies and procedures were followed.

In a follow-up question, Mr Lester asked whether it was unusual for councillors to be involved in appointing staff other than the general manager. "No, it's not unusual, it's in fact quite usual for councillors, aldermen, whatever the title may be, to actually participate in the recruitment process.," Ms Johns said.

1 comment:

  1. I was also present at the last Council meeting in Bushy Park & would like to refresh folk by starting with this "I 'm reimaging what our community could be & I see five key trends affecting what we are aiming for. The rise of the individual asking questions and how they are responded to". I made this the top one of the five because communication & engagement at this level will prove to be a perfect tool for gaging the blood pressure of the ratepayers. This story does mention questions being asked.

    My two questions captured in the trends that will affect whichever targets our Council is aiming to achieve in Our Plan 2030. The trend for "embracing the idea where waste materials are kept in circulation, low-cost utility services, and exploring organic processing". The question relates to Our Vallet 2030 page 11 (3.) and the reference to 'Develop & manage a waste etc.etc. 2024. Could the time frame for action on waste be advanced to demonstrate that the issue is a top priority?

    The other question related you an issue flagged by the Mayor " how to consider going forward on the use of the buildings on the esplanade (swimming pool end)" The question was in two parts as a follow up on the Mayor's question approx. 6 months ago. "Has a discussion commenced about exploring expressions of interest for lease or rent"? Follow up "Is there any reason WHY they could not be sold"?

    Trend number 5 relates to money..' Finding new ways of delivering services while responding to the budget, annual plan and balancing the need to reduce debt against the need to borrow. The ability to generate new revenue streams will contribute to a positive influence on the budget & therefore the Annual Plan.