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BHCC managing roles to go

Friday, 2nd May, 2014

Council’s General Manager Therese Manns Council’s General Manager Therese Manns

By Erica Visser

Five group managers at City Council were yesterday told that their jobs would no longer exist under a proposed new structure.

The draft senior management structure was endorsed by councillors at a confidential meeting on Wednesday night.

The five managers sit directly below the general manager, but under the new structure this number would be reduced to three positions.

The restructure includes two new positions: Deputy General Manager and Division Manager Corporate and Human Services.

The third was the existing position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO), which would be boosted given Council’s financial problems.

Those in the firing line were Group Manager of Sustainability Peter Oldsen; Group Manager of Infrastructure Paul DeLisio; Manager of Community Services Judy Parr; Manager of Economic Development Andrea Roberts and; Group Manager of Business Improvement and Corporate Services Kate O’Neill.

Ms O’Neill, who was on maternity leave, resigned yesterday morning following a meeting with Council’s General Manager Therese Manns.

For now, it will be business as usual until the new structure is formally adopted at Council’s next monthly meeting on May 28.

If approved, the new positions would be advertised soon after.

Current CFO Tim Drew announced plans to leave Council months ago and will finish up on May 14.

Ms Manns told media yesterday that this was just the first stage of the restructure and all remaining positions would be considered in the next stage.

She would not say how many jobs would be cut, but said the second stage was expected to occur before August.

“We’ve proposed a flattening of the structure in a bid to try and achieve organisational efficiencies and financial savings,” Ms Manns said.

“Staff have had the opportunity to ask questions and are being encouraged to continue to ask questions and to provide submissions to tell us what they think.”

Ms Manns said that it was too early to call for voluntary redundancies or predict what savings would come as a result of the restructure.

A $1 million loan to fund the restructure has been included in Council’s 2014/2015 budget, despite an earlier pledge to avoid taking out loans.

Ms Manns could not say what the $1 million would be used for.

“It is not until we determine what the full structure looks like that we will know what the financial impact of that structure is.

“The unfortunate timing with this issue is that our operational plan does go on exhibition on Saturday and we are required under legislation to indicate, as a Council, if we are going to borrow through next financial year.”

It has been years since Council underwent a restructure of this size.

“What we are trying to do is break down silos of (the current) type of structure,” Ms Manns said.

“Rather than having three functional departments, we will now have the one core Council services division, being under the deputy general manager.”

Mayor Wincen Cuy said Council understood the impact of the move on Council employees.

“It has been an extremely difficult decision. We have now endorsed a process of change across the Council, something we have been open about with staff and the community.”

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