Questions over increase in middle management at council

Greens councillor Kerry Brown: Arguing other services were more important than organisational changes and middle manager positions at council.

Greens councillor Kerry Brown: Arguing other services were more important than organisational changes and middle manager positions at council.

A bid to query an increase in the number of middle managers at council, at a cost of $80,000, has been rejected at the recent council meeting.

Greens Cr Kerry Brown with Liberals Kevin Schreiber and Brendan Christie tried to overturn approval for the plan at last week’s council meeting, arguing no case had been made for the increases.

The Review of Organisational Structure was passed in confidence earlier this year. The Gazette obtained a copy through freedom-of-information laws.

The three councillors’ rescission motion said the business paper lacked detail about how the upgrades in rank and pay would lead to cost savings. The report also said another $270,000 could be required for further resources, on a needs basis, to deliver on the 2017-2021 council strategic priorities.

Cr Brown said she would “dare I say it, prefer to see Katoomba pool kept open and I think the ratepayers will think the same”. She also asked for the council to hold off on the decision until the new general manager “is in the seat”. She said not all the information was available when they first voted for the organisational changes.

Cr Schrieber said over the October long weekend, garbage trucks had broken down and failed to pick up rubbish in Leura. Not paying extra for these managers could perhaps go towards truck maintenance, he argued.

“It [this decision] is going to make us more top heavy,” he said.

But Labor Cr Romola Hollywood said in all likelihood council had been efficient enough to already make the changes and she was concerned by the timing of the councillors raising the issue.

“Why now, I could surmise .. a slow media week?”

The mayor said they were obligated to review their organisational structure and all councillors had voted to support it. The matter was voted down with the three councillors and the other Greens councillor Brent Hoare voting against it.