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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

New GM: Who can it be now?

THE identity of the new Derwent Valley Council general manager will be revealed to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6.

Councillors held a closed council meeting last Thursday night to receive a confidential report on the subject of a replacement for former general manager Greg Winton who parted ways with the council two months ago after an extended period of leave.

That meeting resolved unanimously to offer a contract to the successful candidate, and the New Norfolk News today asked for an update on that. A council spokesman declined to comment further, other than to advise that a media release would be published on the council website on Wednesday (tomorrow) morning.

Marg Johns stood in as acting
general manager from Sept-
ember to November last year.
The spokesman also declined to reveal the cost of the recruitment process, which was conducted by Sydney-based consultants. "I’ve been advised by the relevant staff that the cost of recruitment is an operational matter and will be included in the Annual Budget document released next year," the spokesman said.

The use of the mainland consultancy selected by mayor Ben Shaw was questioned by Cr Paul Belcher at the March council meeting. "Was there no company in Tasmania eligible to do that job?" he asked.

Councillor Ben Shaw said the council had received five quotes for the job. "Three were well above the price of the one from NSW, and one was well below and not a recognised company that had been used before, so they sort of didn't stack up in that regard," Cr Shaw said.

Richard Blackwell was
acting general manager
in November.
"So the decision was taken that, Blackadder and Associates had also done our Community Strategic Plan, so they know quite a bit about our area. They also provide our current acting general manager as a service, so they also have knowledge about what I guess we require and need in a general manager moving forward.

"So it helps that they're better placed to know the organisation and know the community," he said. "I took the decision based on a decision that I had from the council that said I can go out to tender. So Amanda [McCall] and I done the process.

"So it was completely removed from the acting general manager because of his employment by that company," Cr Shaw said. Ms McCall is the council's acting executive manager for corporate and community services.

Brian Barrett was in the chair
from November to April.
Cr Shaw said Cr Belcher was welcome to look at the quotes received. "All the details are there but the decision was made on the basis because it was one of the lowest priced, or the second lowest price, the other one was way down, and the knowledge they have of the community, and they've done three to four general manager appointments in Tasmania recently so they'd have some people that are looking for work in Tasmania for that type of role."

Cr Belcher said he was aware that Blackadder and Associates had produced the council's strategic plan. "Let's hope he gets this right because he left Granton off the strategic plan," he said.

"Yes, true," Cr Shaw said. "Let's hope so. Well hopefully we'll have a pretty good review of it anyway councillor and make sure we make a really good decision," the mayor said.

Bill Richardson took the reins
for April and May.
The new general manager replaces Greg Winton who joined the council in 2015, and was appointed to a second three-year term starting in July 2018 The current council reaffirmed the appointment in January 2019 but Mr Winton left the council in February this year.


September-November 2019: Margaret Johns, seconded from the Hobart City Council when Mr Winton went on leave.

November 2019: Richard Blackwell, DVC executive manager, took over from Ms Johns when she returned to HCC and Mr Winton remained on leave.

November 2019-April 2020: Brian Barrett, of Blackadder Associates, took over from Mr Blackwell as Mr Winton's leave continued, and remained when the council started the process of replacing Mr Winton.

April-May 2020: Bill Richardson, DVC chief financial officer, took over when working from Sydney due to coronavirus travel restrictions proved impractical for Mr Barrett.

GETTING IT STRAIGHT: In a recent report the New Norfolk News stated that the current acting general manager, Bill Richardson, was subordinate to executive managers Amanda McCall and Richard Blackwell when in his substantive role as chief financial officer. It has been advised that following changes to the council's management structure some time ago, the two executive managers and the chief financial officer are on an equal footing. The new structure has not yet been published on the council website.


  1. Great news going forward & it does highlight the cost of doing business. I'm thinking that the cost of recruiment from a rate payer's perspective will be included somewhere in this year's documents.

    "I’ve been advised by the relevant staff that the cost of recruitment is an operational matter and will be included in the Annual Budget document released next year," the spokesman said.

    This news does bring into focus the process in terms of operational matters & by way of the questions being asked. "Cr Shaw said Cr Belcher was welcome to look at the quotes received." If one expands that out to the question about the cost of recruiment being an operational matter the question becomes Will Cr.Belcher be able to look at the cost of recruiment figures?

    1. I think, James, your concern should be on how he deals with the legacy of previous incumbents and councils.