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Friday, March 20, 2020

Council chief to work from home

Brian Barrett
THE Derwent Valley Council's acting general manager will work from New South Wales following the State Government's decision to close Tasmania's borders and require incoming passengers to self-isolate for 14 days.

Mayor Ben Shaw said it was now intended that acting general manager Brian Barrett would remain with the council until the recruiting of a new general manager is completed.


Mr Barrett has travelled between New Norfolk and his New South Wales home for most of his time with the council but will now be based in NSW unless there is a change in Tasmania's emergency policy on travel and isolation.

Mr Barrett is the former general manager of the Marrickville Council in New South Wales which in 2016 was merged with two neighbouring councils. The Derwent Valley Gazette recently reported that his services to the Derwent Valley Council were being provided via consultancy firm Blackadder Associates. The same firm of local government specialists developed the council's Strategic Plan and is presently conducting the process of recruiting a new general manager to replace Greg Winton.

"Brian will be available on the phone and has been set up to access [the] council database remotely," Cr Shaw told the New Norfolk News earlier today. "He will Skype or video-in for senior management meetings," he said.

"If there is ongoing travel bans and this situation proves untenable we will reassess the situation and may need to look at appointing another acting GM, but at this stage we will trial this to keep continuity."

Cr Shaw said the council had formed a COVID-19 response committee during the week, to ensure continuity of services and safeguard staff from all needing to be isolated at the same time.

Some council staff will work from home, while "social distancing" has been introduced in the council offices to separate key staff and those who perform similar duties, to prevent the possible spread of infection and ensure the council can continue delivering its services.

Advice about where to find official information about COVID-19 appears at the top of the New Norfolk News homepage, including general advice about helping to reduce the spread of the virus. The best information is sourced from: World Health OrganisationAustralian Government Department of Health; and the Tasmanian Government Department of Health.

Washing your hands for 20 seconds is one of the most effective forms of infection control. Do this after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after close physical contact with anyone who is unwell; after using the toilet; before and after eating; before, during and after preparing food; and after feeding or touching a pet.


  1. Just how long does it take for a new GM to be appointed? The position was advertised some months ago prior to the current 'temporary' GM being employed. The cost of all this is unfortunately being borne by the ratepayers. Surely it can't be that hard to find a competent person who is familiar with the State Legislation???? Let's hope that whoever gains the position is not given a contact further than 12 months following the next election too - a new council should have the opportunity to assess their employee.

    1. Sadly quite a few of we contemptible ratepayers think a hard reset is needed and it may be best for all if an Administrator is appointed before the new GM.

      A recommitment to the purpose of local government and cultural reset would be welcomed by many l expect.

      If any current or former councillor or manager wants to state otherwise in reply, I encourage you to do so.

    2. The position advertised some months back was for the new role of deputy general manager, which appears to have been postponed. The general manager vacancy was advertised last week, with an April 6 deadline.
      The council has today advertised for a replacement human resources officer and the new role of property officer.