Mass sackings, directorate folded, outsourcing mooted in draft Baw Baw structure review
 Baw Baw News  

By // 17:31, Wednesday 18 February 2015

warragul citizen baw baw shire flag by william kulich 2

AT LEAST 35 people are likely to be made redundant and a directorate disbanded as part of the Baw Baw Shire’s Organisation Structure Review.

A draft copy of the review circulated among staff yesterday and provided to the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen today outlined the changes, which could see a further 45 people lose their jobs to outsourcing, the creation of 26 totally new positions, and the modification of another 11 positions.

The Community Services directorate, presently without a director after previous head Shane Cagney left the council, will be disbanded to form a three-directorate structure: Community Assets, Corporate and Community Services, and Planning & Economic Development.


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Many of the people to be made redundant have been with the organisation for a long time, and in a number of cases a new position with a slightly different title will be created after they leave.

Staff have told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen some employees found out they had lost their jobs from concerned friends and not from those responsible for the changes.

Planning & Economic Development will see the biggest number of job losses, with 12 people to be made redundant and one moved onto retirement. Ten totally new positions will be advertised.

Community Assets will see nine redundancies and six totally new positions will be advertised.

Corporate and Community Services will see six people sacked and two new full time positions created.

The entire IT, OHS and Human Resources departments have been flagged as potentially outsourceable, putting the jobs of a further 15 people in doubt. Elsewhere in the directorate another 15 positions are potential outsourcing targets.

In communications all seven customer service officers will be made redundant, with six similar new positions created to replace them. Another position will also be made redundant, the new position of Business Improvement Officer will be created and the vacant Grants and Advocacy Officer position filled.

Staff feedback will be assessed early in March before the final structure is advised by the CEO on 11 March.

The Australian Services Union will meet with Baw Baw on 25 February.


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In an unsigned open letter included in The Weekly – the council’s internal newsletter – a spokesperson assumed to be CEO Helen Anstis said Baw Baw was “operating in a dynamic and changing economic and political environment with increasing expectations from the community, without the price tag attached.”

“In addition to the external environmental factors, we have a number of vacant positions, and with our imminent relocation to Drouin there is a real opportunity for us to review the organisation to take on these challenges.

“In meeting the challenges being faced by Local Government as a sector, and maximising our opportunity with the relocation to Drouin, we need to look at all the services we provide, how we provide them and, ensuring we are best placed to provide them.

“In the past I have asked staff for their ideas about process improvements, smarter ways of doing things and reviewing service levels and services. A number of teams have already participated in Best Value Service Reviews, which have highlighted opportunities for improvement. These are being acted upon but there is a need to do more.

“So while it is one thing to be reviewing the services and service standards in order to find operational savings, it is also important that we look at all the services we provide; are we best placed to provide them or are there better and more appropriate service providers that we could be partnering with to achieve the best outcome for our community? The management challenge is to achieve savings that are sustainable and do not disadvantage our community. The services they need should be delivered at a level and cost they can afford or are willing to pay. This is going to require some detailed conversations with our community over the coming months as we undertake service reviews.

“In support of this overall services review, we are also reviewing the organisation’s structure and the Executive Leadership Team and I have prepared a draft for your consideration. In preparing this DRAFT structure we have listened to your ideas and for the opportunity to work smarter and more collaboratively across the organisation.

“In developing this structure we have focused on Council’s Vision, Mission and Values, as well as the key performance objectives for the two years remaining of this Council Plan and setting the organisation up for flexibility in service delivery into the future.

“The principles we used in developing this structure included:

  • “Simplify the way we go about our work;
  • “Streamline and improve decision making;
  • “Build resilience and flexibility into our organisation so as to adapt to the changing environment; and
  • “Be agile enough to deliver services to our community that are affordable and meet expectations.

“Further to these principles, we also acknowledge that we need to live and breathe our values and behaviours; that we must all walk the talk and feel empowered to hold ourselves and our colleagues to account when we don’t. We have not made these decisions lightly. I have made myself available to talk to you, as have the Directors. Many have taken the opportunity to provide their feedback and ideas, some have been very proactive in designing a new paradigm for Local Government in Gippsland, with a shared service model that has merit and will require further investigation. I thank those staff who have actively participated in these well rounded and robust discussions.

“In this DRAFT structure you will note that:

  1. “The organisation now has three Directorates and I retain Community Information, including the Performance Reporting Framework, Council Plan and Organisation Improvement through Best Value and Service Review processes.
  2. “There are a number of management positions that have been refocused and may lead to redundancies.
  3. “Some services have been identified for further investigation regarding Shared Service opportunities with our local government colleagues or other forms of delivery depending on the outcome of a service review.
  4. “Some positions have been completely reviewed with significant changes made to position descriptions to provide greater flexibility in the service provided and scope for improved efficiency. Where this has occurred there may be redundancies.
  5. “We have looked at the programs and services we provide and have redesigned the organisation to capture the skills, knowledge and experience of staff to deliver these services.
  6. “We have created a fixed term contract position for a ‘Business Analyst’ to assist with the Best Value Service Reviews and Business Improvement processes so that we can continue to adapt and design affordable services now and into the future. This position will be critical in assisting with the Service Reviews to be undertaken and streamlining processes.
  7. “The creation of the new Assets and Recreation Team is a logical improvement given the synergies that exist in service and asset planning and for better managing the recreation asset portfolio into the future.
  8. “We have also included an additional resource in to the Recreation Team to assist with managing the Warragul Leisure Centre contract and Committees of Management at our reserves and halls.
  9. “Combining the Emergency Management staff with Building and Regulatory Services places all enforcement activities under the one umbrella to provide improved management of all our regulatory activities.
  10. “Creating the new Infrastructure Planning, Programs and Waste Team provides a one stop shop for infrastructure planning through delivery of all capital works in the Long Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP), integrated with subdivision development and construction management, to ensure consistent outcomes across this entire portfolio. Including waste management in this team provides for consistent contract management outcomes.
  11. “A number of changes are proposed to the Fleet Service area to better reflect the progress and future of the current fleet reforms underway, together with building works planning support for the wider Urban Operations area.
  12. “Creating a single Coordinator across all Parks, Gardens and Sportsfields will ensure better works planning and delivery across this entire suite of activities, consistency of standards and outcomes and better management of the increasing demands upon this service.
  13. “Customer Service has been reviewed with a more consistent workforce going from predominantly part-time employees to full-time with rotations to occur across Drouin and Warragul. Further discussions are to be undertaken with the Council regarding the continued provision of service at Trafalgar.
  14. “Local Laws Officers will become multi-disciplinary with Planning enforcement, Parking, Animal, Asset Protection and Local Law enforcement. School-Crossing supervision will remain the same.
  15. ‘The Statutory Planning structure has been amended to include new planning officer positions.
  16. “Strategic Planning will become a multi-disciplinary team providing strategic planning for both land use and social planning as well as undertaking community development activities and implementing both the Baw Baw Health and Wellbeing Plan and Active Transport roles.
  17. “In addition to Strategic and Statutory Planning this department will now also include Environmental Planning and Delivery with the Natural Environment Team, Waste Education and Environmental Planning forming a new team.
  18. “Economic Development is being moved to be a direct report to the Director Planning and Economic Development and will focus on providing Executive Support to the Business Advisory Board, and will implement the Economic Development Strategy that was adopted by the Council in 2014.
  19. “The Arts and Culture Team will remain the same with the addition of the Economic Development Events Officer joining the team. The department will now report through to the Director Planning and Economic Development.
  20. “The Human Services Team is predominantly unchanged however the disability planning component of the work will be discontinued. This service relies on DHS to refer clients and the service has not been and is not meeting targets; there are a number of local providers and it is expected that the funding model will change significantly at the end of the financial year. The PAG Administration role will discontinue, with the work to be absorbed by the PAG supervisor role. The role of Home Based Support Admin will increase to a full time position. The role of ADASS Team Leader Program Support will discontinue and the PAG (ADASS) Support role will increase by 0.5. Minor changes will be made to the roles of Social Support Admin Officer and the Volunteer Officer where meals co-ordination will move from the roles to Home Based Support Services and the two roles will focus on volunteer management, recruitment and support for the entire HACC group of services. There are no changes to the Family and Children’s Services Department and the Immunisation Service contract remains with the manager. The team will now be incorporated in to a new Corporate and Community Services Directorate and be renamed Community Services.
  21. “The new Corporate and Community Services Directorate will continue to provide support services to the organisation with Finance and Procurement unchanged. Human Resources, Payroll, Information Technology, Learning and Development, OHS & Risk and Business Information services are to be reviewed to identify the best and most appropriate service delivery model including shared service or outsourced options.
  22. “There has been a freeze placed on all vacant positions in the organisation. If the position is still required then we want to maximise redeployment opportunities as appropriate.
  23. “The Executive Leadership Team is also reviewing the teams that are going to Drouin once the renovation is complete. At this point in time, consideration is being given to retain the Community Services Team at Civic Place. Finance, Business Information and Communications will potentially move to Drouin. Staff are unlikely to sit within Directorates, but where they may have more appropriate working relationships with other teams, for example Sub-Divisions and Infrastructure Planning with Strategic Planning to ensure we get a comprehensive outcome to future planning decisions and on the ground assets.

“If we achieve the above, we set ourselves up to deliver the highest quality and affordable services to our community and create an organisation that is focused and prepared for the reshaped future of Local Government in Victoria.”

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18 responses to “Mass sackings, directorate folded, outsourcing mooted in draft Baw Baw structure review”

  1. David Wombat Lyons says:

    If i ring the shire, i can spend 5 to 10 minutes on hold, if i go visit the trafalgar service centre i can wait in que for 5 minutes – oftern for a quick payment or reporting of information….In other words.. frontline customer service staffing doesnt seem to be right in my experiance

  2. W. Brooks says:

    Perhaps some money could be saved by dispensing with the Imagine Promotion Team, or whoever it is responsible for changing departments to directorates, so that the managers can have the title of director. I suppose we should be thankful that in this communication the word paradigm was only used once, and going forward wasn’t mentioned at all.

  3. Roger Marks says:

    One. The council is determined to keep the residents in the dark with fancy names for as many parts of Council as possible. Simpler to call a spade a spade.

    Two. HACC is desperate for money and the Council needs to make that a priority.

    Three. It looks like it is going to get rid of six and employ five. That will cost a lot of money in redundancies etc so why not just move people across.

    Four. The cash rate is 2.25%. The mortgage rate is about 4-5%. personal loans are about 6-7%. The Council hits the poor the hardest who are struggling to pay their rates with 11.5%.

    The grinch is alive and well.

  4. Don Sinclair says:

    Does this mean less staff or more. Very confusing. If less staff I assume more funds for services BUT if more then we go through the usual with HA. More money for staff numbers and less for roads etc

  5. Jack B says:

    So the CEO gets a pay rise and a 5 year contract. Was the deal that she sack 35 staff with another 45 to go once the so called sham of a consultation is done? Isnt it a bit rich to talk about ‘values’ when the bosses get to keep their jobs and some staff found out from concerned friends? This is going to impact on the community in the months ahead you can be sure of that. And Mr Lyons, you will now probably have to go to Drouin to see a service staff is Trafalgar shuts done. Will the community find out the true cost of all those redundancies? probs not I bet.

  6. R Black says:

    The redundancy payouts could stretch into the millions. Add this to the cost of the ‘refurbished’ Drouin office and the increase $$ in the recently renewed CEO contract, that is a lot of ratepayer $$$$’s. What have the councillors to say??

  7. Belinda Rogers says:

    Very concerning to read that disability planning is to be removed. Far more information is needed about the potential impact this will have on the disabled people in Baw Baw.

    We are already seriously lacking in services here. Removing cohesive planning sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    Baw Baw Council needs to clarify this issue as soon as possible.

  8. Gwen Hunter says:

    Weeelllll, I’m glad I left when I did!! working within the disability area had it’s massive challenges. As soon as HR found I had a level of disability myself, I was “gently” nudged to the door. I was too tired to fight any more. So yet again, we have people at the coal face working their dots off, with a full chain of command, watching, waiting. Let’s face it. The shire is wildly top heavy. either you ALL need to work and pull together of the shire is stuffed. My heartfelt sympathies to those about to lose their jobs.

  9. Grant Johnson says:

    So the council has decided cut staff, it’s unfortunate that most of these staff will impact on services on the ground. The real problem is the layer of management that is on big money and is not necessary with the day to day running of operations, co-ordinators could and should report directly to their appropriate directors, the salaries that mangament get and their lack of knowledge that they have in their supposed area is disgraceful and hidden from public scrutiny

  10. Ian F says:

    So, and I’m quoting here – “in communications all seven customer service officers will be made redundant, with six similar new positions created to replace them” – this is our council rates at work is is? If it weren’t so tragic for the people involved the situation would be best described as pythonesque!

  11. ned says:

    I’m all for efficiencies and quite frankly, a lot of you out their in the community have been wingeing and complaining for the past few years that there are too many staff at the Shire.
    Well, careful what you wish for, because the CEO and her team have rightfully responded with a big shift, shake up and change.
    If rates don’t get increased (again) next year and the year after etc, and the Shire runs leaner and operates more effectively, then this restructure and shake up will prove successful.
    I feel for the people within our community that have lost their jobs, a terrible and stressful situation for all concerned.
    However, if there has been too many FTE’s for a period of time, better to make the changes now, rather than continue to carry those ongoing costs incurred by us rate payers for years to come.

  12. John Smith says:

    Wow, the CEO has lost her nut. All voters need to show their dissatisfaction in renewing her contract and INCREASING HER SALARY by removing all current councillors at the next election.
    She is a nut bag, the wicked witch, whatever you would like to call her. How can the Council be cash-strapped, yet spend millions on a new office, yes new, in no way is that a refurbishment, basically only the concrete remains; spend in excess of $2M, yes $2 MILLION on redundancies, give the wicked witch a massive pay rise, and spend millions on refurbishing the Warragul Leisure Centre when the community simply wants an outdoor pool?
    Worst of all, there are many critical roles being removed which will have a significant impact on the services the Council provides, if you need assistance, well be prepared to wait a looong time for action.
    The consultation is a sham, everyone know this means nothing and the CEO is only doing this to ensure she doesn’t ‘get in trouble’…
    I say the Council needs a new leader, one who actually knows what they are doing, and a new set of councillors who care about our community, not just helping the deep pockets of the wicked witch.

  13. Ian Honey says:

    Helen, I hope quality in delivery will be part of your restructure plan. No Rhetoric, just do it. Should be the mantra! Health program for the staff. Chuck out half the seats and computers. Reduce sit down meetings by fifty percent in each department. Introduce deadlines for completion of every decision. Open up construction works by having contractors compete by example in different parts of the Shire. Eg One road repairer in each Ward so that comparisons can be made to assess the quality? delivered. Have standard hand out list of information requirements relating planning for residential or commercial. Stop resisting and holding back planning permits for house building on rural land of less than 100 acres. You give 40 plus permits every year anyway. So a new zone for this category as of right would stop the nonsense and free up staff time for other planning issues. Better job allocation and programming for out door staff. Allow them to have sustenance in the work vehicle so that going back to depot for meal breaks is not essential.

  14. Shayne Annett says:

    Honest to God, who on earth would ever want to work for the Council with the venom and vitriol that spews forth from the likes of the people on this page. I suspect it would not matter a jot what council did; these people will just roll out the same blather about too many staff, over-paid managers, rubbish service, luxurious work conditions blah blah blah. How about some solutions people- how about you even got involved?
    Its very easy to vent on the airwaves – how about you even go to the trouble of actually informing yourselves on an issue and then trying to figure out a fair way to solve it? Or is it just easier to have a rant?
    And just to anticipate the inevitable response from some- I don’t work for council, and have never worked for local government, but I am in favour of civil and constructive discussion and problem solving. But maybe that just too hard nowadays…….

  15. Graeme Sproul says:

    Perhaps the problem may lay in the same area as our major political parties and the issues they are having in attempting to understand what their constituents are telling them and then dealing with it.Do as I say not what I do seems to be their mantra.
    It seems those that make it to the upper echolons of their respective parties don’t come from outside the party enviroment these days,starting off as young players in their youth and progressing to activists and onwards via the slippery pole.No real life experience with running a business or coping with set backs.
    Where I’m coming from is these people do not live in the same world as perhaps me 🙂 Council CEOs may start off in uni and go straight into local govt unlike say the CEO who runs a public company.Who does the CEO of a company generally work for? Yes, the share holders.What makes the share holders happy,is high profits , low running costs, and (10% plus)high dividends.
    So if councils seriously had to justify their existance I would suspect most would be bankrupt due to incompetence.
    Sorry for those who are losing their jobs,but sadly that is the only reality that is common to most of us today in keeping the bottom line in the black and securing a good profit.
    Hang on Why don’t we move the council off shore to India or the Philippines.

  16. Ian Honey says:

    Shayne,
    My comments are based on my past experiences as a volunteer and a councillor (in the days when councillors were not paid) and currently as a citizen driving around and making my own observations. Also as a planning applicant thinking how inconsistent the decisions were and how the articulate and good scribes had advantage over others. Also when no working person had access to compulsory superannuation, thirty eight eight thousand LG employees in Victoria had twelve and a quarter percent super paid for them by the ratepayers. WIth all the add ons, the cost of running LG admins. is too high and out of proportion. Relativity in salaries is what is destroying this Country. See what is happening to our motor industry. To top it off is duplication. Local Govt. dabbling in too many things. eg: Immunisation now handed over to other health professionals.
    Kindergartens should be part of a verticle education authority. What has happened in years past has not entirely been the fault of staff, but also because of poor quality or less educated councillors. So, we should all take the blame for the lack of interest in selecting our representatives.We should try to select candidates for council who are well rounded, not single issue people, not necessarily picked because they are well liked, but because they have knowledge, ability, and a selfless reason for their nomination. Recognise that jobs and a clean environment are equally important to the mental health of our society. No artful Dodgers please.

  17. Shayne Annett says:

    Good response Ian. You raise some points that need to be addressed. There are questions about the role of local governments that should be considered by all of us- though we do tend to have a magic pudding version of local government sometimes. We want all the services but won’t pay for them.

    I agree that local government can move into areas that are arguably beyond their scope- but state government has a tendency to shift responsibilities to local government (without the $ of course). So sometimes its not of their own making. That said, I hope this process does set out for us – local residents- exactly what the shire does do and that the focus will be on doing it to a level of excellence. Its clearly also time to be brave enough to say what the shire will have to stop doing – otherwise you’re just loading up the remaining staff ….. again…

    I don’t think that taking the angle that people working in local government had packages that were too generous is useful. I will never begrudge people in modestly paid positions being able to negotiate good pay and conditions. Its something we are all seeking and dragging someone else down because you can’t get the same is a race to the bottom. I think its a bit rich to suggest that this is ‘destroying the country’. Actually, we’re not being ‘destroyed’ – God knows there are plenty of countries that are at the moment, but we’re not. I’m not really sure what you mean by ‘relativity in wages’. If you mean disparity between low and high incomes, then I agree. But local government staff wages are hardly at the core of that problem. Nor, for that matter, is the small amount that councillors get paid.
    I lived in the US in a state where their state politicians weren’t paid. Great idea people thought! Yeah, if you want a state that’s dominated by retired independently wealthy men because they were the only ones who could afford to be state representatives! Careful what you pray for.

  18. Lee Pattinson says:

    Why on earth are the Shire sacking people then advertising positions again. They probably need to keep some of these people & maybe just maybe give them a little more training. What a waste of rate payers money. And please don’t go creating new titles which will then mean new stationary etc.