Meetings must improve: Sellick
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013
By Erica Visser
A by-election candidate said he was shocked to discover "nothing was discussed" at a recent City Council committee meeting.
Robin Sellick attended Council's public meetings on the economy, environment, community and services, which all take place together on Wednesday afternoon.
"The meeting which I had assumed would be where the decisions of the city are made was over in less than 15 minutes," Mr Sellick said.
"I have since discovered that reports due to be presented at this meeting were not completed in time, and that this is a frequent occurrence in Council.
"This is not acceptable. In order for Broken Hill to be competitive we have to run the city like a well-oiled machine."
Mr Sellick said that Council needed to be run like "any other serious company".
"The mining companies that operate here in Broken Hill expect their staff to be professional, skilled and to work to the best of their ability at all times,"
"Council is the apparatus through which the city's problems are solved ñ this cannot possibly work if the machine itself is not functioning at the highest level of competence and professionalism. This is my number one priority.
"During my work with EMED Mining in Spain, I often had to prepare important documents and reports, which were then presented and discussed at board meetings.
"I know for a fact that if I were to have failed to have these things completed professionally and on time, I would have been fired, no question about it."
Mr Sellick said that Council staff needed to be better trained and motivated.
"Some candidates have suggested that cutting staff at Council is a good option for cost cutting.
"My view is that it would be better to train and motivate the staff we currently have, so that they can be more efficient and effective."
Council's interim general manager Greg Wright denied that reports had been left out of the meeting papers.
"I'm not aware of any reports not being ready on time, I think these things are pretty cyclic," he said.
"Given that we've had a bunch of public holidays, it's harder."
Council's four committees contain every councillor and are held monthly a week before its general meeting.
Mr Wright said that at the Camden Council, where he was previously employed, there were no committee meetings.
"Obviously here at Broken Hill they find it useful, we just had a meeting a fortnight," he said.
"I'm not just here to keep the wheels turning, I will be implementing some changes over the next four months."
City Councillor Branko Licul said that it was unfortunate that Mr Sellick had made the observation based on his attendance at one meeting.
"Every meeting is different, it's unfortunate that he's made a generalisation," he said.
"Maybe the fact that the meetings are quick is a sign that Council is working."
Fellow by-election candidate Christine Adams, who did not attend the meeting, said that Council staff were already competent.
"My experience when I was in Council was that the staff did, in most cases, an excellent job of preparing and presenting papers to Council," she said.
"But I do agree with Robin, Council must be run as a business and as far as I know all aspects are being assessed already."