Staff redundancies

This story is courtesy of the Northbridge Progress Association’s Newsletter – the 202.

By Debra Just, General Manager, Willoughby City Council

A comparison between Willoughby City Council and other councils in Sydney has indicated a significant over-representation of Director and Manager roles within the current structure, thereby adding unnecessary costs to ratepayers. In addition, the changing nature of local government, together with the State Government’s reform agenda, requires new skills currently not represented in the organisation. The recent review and resulting restructure has also sought to clearly identify responsibility for delivering community outcomes. In addition to the new General Manager’s observations, the restructure also drew upon work commenced approximately 18 months ago. Staff whose roles were made redundant were provided with a range of options including employment into new roles.

The outcome of this process was to:

• Save $2 million per annum;

• Reduce 29 Directors’ and Managers’ roles to 19 positions (some of whom are continuing to contribute to Willoughby in new roles) to bring Willoughby into alignment with other councils;

• Create new roles in the required skills of continuous improvement, project and risk management;

• Establish 3 Directorates with responsibility for the outcomes of “place making”, “community” and “customers”.

Editor’s note: A disappointing aspect of these redundancies was that the community was not provided with an opportunity to thank many long-term staff for their contributions to Willoughby City.

Willoughby Draft Parking Strategy

street parkingDraft Residential Permit Parking Policy – 55% support; with 63% supporting a discount for pensioners. Will include provision for 3 permits per household. Unclear if RMS will allow the scheme or if all houses in a street are eligible for permits.

  • Draft Car Sharing Policy – 57% of respondents support charging car share operators for their use of designated car vehicles parking spaces.
  • Draft Motorcycle Parking Provision Policy – 55% support more parking for motorcycles
  • Draft Long Stay Visitor Parking Policy – many of the respondents wrongly held the view that supporting this policy implies supporting the installation of parking meters in residential streets.
  • Draft Parking Provision for Tradespeople policy – No changes to apply to this policy.
  • Draft Parking Fees & Charges Policy – There were no comments on this issue.

There is no immediate consideration for the introduction of parking meters as this could be reviewed when the parking demand on streets exceeds 90% occupancy.

Pedestrian Countdown Timers

countdowntimersOver the past couple of months the RMS has been trialling pedestrian countdown timers as an alternative for the ‘flashing red man’ at intersections including the corner of Archer St and Victoria Avenue.

A vigilant resident pieced together the following information:

A response from Council on the status of the timers is included in the Comments section of this page.

I am just wondering if you have seen these two articles:

In summary of the articles, the intersection of Victoria and Archer Street’s currently have countdown timer’s installed for pedestrians. The SMH article says that they are going to remove these timers (as Victoria&Archer Street is not on the list).  I think the timers make the intersection safer and I don’t know why they are being removed?

Not sure if the traffic committee has any influence on the removal of the timers?  Also, not sure if the traffic committee has any other data to support the removal of the countdown timers?

I think the countdown timers are good, so unless there is data to support removing the countdown timers at this intersection, it would be good if the traffic committee could try and get the countdown timer to stay at the intersection.

10/50 update

It appears that the 10/50 bushland laws allowing trees to be removed in bush fire prone areas has been reviewed. Thirty new regulations have been adopted from the review recommendations but specific details are not known at this stage.

Also, there has not been a response from Willoughby Council on the status of their application to reduce the area of bush fire prone land.

Less Councilors?

Wards

As required by the Local Government Act, Council recently considered if it wished to make any changes to Wards or number of Councilors. Twenty years ago there were five wards of three Councilors each. A total of fifteen Councilors. About fifteen years ago, Council reduced the wards to four with three Councilors plus a popularly-elected Mayor. A total of thirteen Councilors. It has stayed that way since. In the recent consideration by Council different options were considered. Council in its wisdom decided not to make any changes.

Dougherty Apartments

DoughertyApartmentsThe Dougherty Apartments were built over 25 years ago. They were a joint venture between Willoughby Council, the NSW Department of Housing and Uniting Church Aged Care. Willoughby Council donated the land. The apartment offer both self-care residential and care units in a community atmosphere.

Since last year the building has been upgraded to improve the amenity for residents. Work should be completed next year. The range of services offered will be extended including the availability of a new dementia unit.

The apartments were named after former Willoughby Council Mayor Bob Dougherty and are a tribute to him and his supporting, visionary Council of the day.