New GM aiming to ‘future-proof’ city
Tuesday, 5th April, 2016
By Erica Visser
It was the unique “allure” of Broken Hill that attracted incoming City Council general manager James Roncon.
Mr Roncon, who has two decades of local government experience under his belt, officially began in Council’s top job yesterday.
His spent it meeting staff and familiarising himself with the city’s hot issues including the proposed library relocation, the unfolding water crisis and staff attraction and retention.
“Certainly, from my perspective, what I’m really keen to do is have a look at the organisational structure,” Mr Roncon told local media yesterday afternoon.
“We’ve got to fill some positions, obviously, so I’d be really keen to start on that process fairly quickly.”
A review of Council’s 2014 major organisational restructure would begin in the coming weeks, with Mr Roncon anticipating a need to “tweak” the current structure.
“It’s very, very hard to have a major (restructure) and get it right the first time,” he said.
“You’ve always got to tweak, you’ve always got to make little adjustments along the way.”
And in regards to his own position, the former ACT director of transport said he planned to see out the entirety of his contract with Council.
It was secured following the early exit of predecessor Therese Manns, who took up a position at Sutherland Shire Council in Sydney.
“I’ve signed a five-year contract. I intend to honour that,” he said.
“It’s very hard for me to look beyond five years.”
Mr Roncon anticipated the biggest challenge during his tenure may be the long-term “future-proofing” of the city.
“There’s a number of challenges that we’ve got; obviously resolving the water issue is a big one for Broken Hill.
“There’s been a lot of good work that’s been done by Council so far on that path so let’s hope over the next month or two it will resolve itself.
“....Obviously having a solid, reliable water supply is one of those future-proofing methods.”
Ensuring community engagement efforts continued, particularly in the wake of more tough decisions, was also a focal point.
“There’s a lot of change that will happen around us whether we like it or not. I know that Council has communicated (with the public)...you’re always going to have those pockets of the community that will no doubt say they weren’t communicated with enough.”
Mr Roncon said he had first visited the Silver City in 2000 and was excited by the prospect of moving his family to the region.
“It’s hard to explain, unless you’ve been to Broken Hill (or) you’ve lived here, you probably wouldn’t understand it but it’s just always had a bit of an allure for me,” he said.
“I’ve come here professionally in my work life, and I’ve also made the trek on a personal level, coming from the Tour Down Under trips to Adelaide for a night or so.
“I just really, really like the city...When I saw the advert (for the general manager position) I thought, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’.
“Fortunately, it’s worked out well.”