New Shire Councillors will face interesting times

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 7:58pm

Councillor Ray Longfellow, incumbent mayor of Central Darling Shire Council said today that the new council, that will be elected on the 8th September will face challenging times in a lot of areas, but particularly the financial management of the Shire.

Ray Longfellow said he will be recontesting his position as a Councillor for B Ward at the upcoming election.

Ray said that future councillors will need to be switched on and have a good understanding of the functions of Local Government and the  areas that councillors can influence. In particular they will need to have a very good understanding of the difference between policy and operational matters.

Consultants to cost $300,000.

Ray also confirmed that initial estimates show that the use of consultants to fill vacant positions in the Shire will cost around $300,000 between the end of June 2012 and December 2012. Ray said this is partly the result of the shire being unable to recruit full time staff with suitable qualifications who are prepared to live and work in remote areas.

The recruitment of some of these consultants has also been as a result of the timetable set by the Department of Local Government’s Better Practice review that was handed down last year. The Review highlight 56 points that the shire had to address, many of them in the planning and policy areas which both require specialised staff.

The three staff positions that were advertised in June have not as yet been filled. One position, the Manager Corporate and Community Services, was the subject of a recommendation that it be abolished as a Directors position during a review of shire staffing in 2004. In 2012 the same group of consultants included it in the proposed staff structure.