The only option I see is avoiding the obvious solutions

We are all pretty familiar with the story of Admiral Horatio Nelson famously turning a blind eye to something he didn't want to see. Blinded in one eye early in his Royal Navy career, in 1801 during the Battle of Copenhagen, Nelson was ordered by a less aggressive Admiral giving him the discretion to withdraw. At the time, orders were conveyed by signal flags and Nelson famously lifted his telescope to his blind eye and said "I really do not see the signal" and his forces continued to attack.

When the NSW Government decided to bring together general managers and mayors from across the State they called it Destination 2036 because the talkfest was intended to construct a vision towards a better structured and more efficient local government in 25 years time. What a pity they focused their invitations on the two groups with the most to lose - general managers and mayors.

What a pity Minister Don Page and Premier Barry O’Farrell chose to not see the signal.

If you bother to read the Destination 2036 Outcomes Report you won't be surprised to see that the outcomes are carefully crafted proposals aimed at restructuring employment practices by herding "back office" (and some wag thinks that means the role of the GM) or wages staff or whatever into shared arrangements but leaving untouched the anachronistic and inefficient boundaries of the 152 local government areas in New South Wales.

depa has always been sceptical about the resistance to amalgamation and supportive of larger, well-financed councils that can better provide best practice conditions of employment and pay employees properly so they can attract and retain them in markets where skills are in short supply.

Too much for the International Judge

It would be easy if human resources managers understood that their role wasn't just bludgeoning the workforce. Imagine if they thought it made sense to support and encourage the development of their employees and not just hammering them into templates, cutting costs and cutting opportunities.

It would also be easy if we could separate out those who are more incompetent than they are malicious. Are they bad and nasty people or just stupid?

And hopeless HR doesn't just depend upon HR managers. Many HR managers (oh, all right then) some HR managers really do try to do the right thing but don't have much of an option if the Director Corporate Services or the General Manager is a nasty piece of work, or a dope, or a sadist intent on wreaking havoc and misery and driving employees somewhere else.

So, no wonder our acclaimed International Judging Panel (and particularly the international member) found it very, very hard to separate some serious contenders this year.

Nominated this year were ....

The issue that led to the clumsy investigation by the Council of our delegate and Manager Jim Boyce last year was a generous gift by members to Jim. It was a generous acknowledgement for his time and effort in having all of our positions upgraded in a lengthy exercise using the 00Soft job evaluation system and resulting in significant pay increases to all members. Basically when the positions were evaluated after 1992 they were all placed on one level below where they should be in the Award.

Some people at the Council found it unbelievable that employees, happy with the results of Jim’s work and enthusiastic to recognise it, would reward him with a generous cash gift. No one ever rewarded them!

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