While it’s normally pretty easy to work out if you are in love, it’s not quite so easy to work out when you’re not and to end the relationship. Is it just part of the inevitable ebb and flow, a reaction to the reality of being together all the time and the problems jointly faced and no-one remembering to put the garbage out, a reasonable reaction, or an overreaction to a lovers’ spat? Some people find it harder than others.

Famously, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor married twice - the second time only 16 months after their first divorce. Now Nambucca has joined the ranks of those who remarry (metaphorically speaking, of course) by realising they really were in love with the three director structure that they abolished and replaced with a two director model in 2012 and after an unsatisfactory affair, they want their first love back - resolving 16 months after killing off the three director structure that they want it back.

The 2012 restructure was messy and embarrassing. The Council is hiding the cost of the exercise, refusing to disclose what it cost to make employees redundant. They also refuse to do the calculations that could be made to put a cost on the loss of a competent and experienced Manager Building, who couldn’t cope any longer and fled to Queensland. And, during the course of Nambucca’s affair with a combined corporate services/environment and planning directorship run by the previous director of environment and planning, now they’ve lost that competent and highly-regarded employee to Kyogle. How do you put a cost on this loss?

Not only was the 2012 restructure poorly conceived and planned and reliant upon keeping a GM with planning qualifications to take some of those responsibilities, but only two months after the new structure was implemented, more fiddling took place that made redundant another of our members. How many goes at this do they need? Will the last person out please turn off the lights.

Nambucca is one of the councils identified by both the TCorp analysis and by the Independent Review Panel as being “Weak or Very Weak” and with a “Negative Outlook” where the Panel has called for medium-and long-term financial strategies, amongst other things, to get them out of trouble.

Clearly there’s not much in the way of medium or long term strategies evident here. If Nambucca can’t get its act together on its structure, if it squanders public moneys on losing good staff for the folly of a structure which lasts only a little over a year, then there are bigger questions to ask.  

The Local Government Acts Taskforce released a Discussion Paper on 4 April 2013 and the Independent Local Government Review Panel released their “Future Directions for NSW Local Government: 20 Essential Steps” on 24 April.

Clearly the more significant report is that of the Independent Review Panel because the Panel has produced a well-reasoned, thorough, exhaustive and wide-ranging series of recommendations to allow local government to develop and prosper over the next 25 years.

The Panel provided a presentation to the unions and LGNSW prior to the public release of their Future Directions paper and their 20 Essential Steps build on the financial analysis announced in the previous fortnight by TCorp which showed “a disturbing picture of a local government system facing major financial problems with apparently little awareness of just how serious the situation has become”. How embarrassing is that? “Little awareness of how serious the situation has become” is beyond damning. 70 councils of 153 expected by TCorp to be financially at risk within three years. Uh oh …

 

Local Government Super, like all funds, requires that you make a binding nomination for who gets your death benefit. Ordinarily, in the absence of a will or a binding nomination to the fund, it goes to the spouse.

But LGS finds that there are far too many members of the fund who die without a binding nomination and still have a legally married spouse even though they may have fled that hideous and miserable relationship years ago and are happily entranced with a new partner and a new family.

That becomes a significant problem because, believe it or not, (and no observations here about Nambucca) there are some ex spouses and partners who love the idea of getting their hands on your money when you are dead.

You can make a binding death nomination by going to the LGS site on here.

Okay, so Confucius was obsessed with all the little children being boys, but you know what we mean. We don’t want to quibble but surely one of the most beautiful sights in the world is an employer making sure that they provide flexible working arrangements to allow a parent to properly show their kids the way.

We have lots and lots of enquiries from parents (usually mothers) returning to work after parental leave and finding resistance from their Council - whether that be flexible arrangements generally, or part-time arrangements, or starting and finishing time, or flexible or inflexible lunch breaks that allow them to be comfortable and confident that they are properly discharging their obligations as a parent at the same time as getting back in harness at the Council.

The State Award in clause 2 Statement of Intent encourages councils to “ensure flexibility for work and family responsibilities” but too often do we see short-sighted managers and HR challenging child care arrangements, being pretty inflexible about what constitutes flexibility, having unimaginative rules about minimum lunch breaks or inflexible rules about how many days an employer should work to be full time.

Too many councils scared of “establishing a precedent” when a precedent to provide, for example, full-time hours over four days is worthy only of applause and recognition.

If you are a parent wanting more flexible arrangements, or a parent who is currently part-time that wants to return to full-time work and finding a lack of cooperation and sympathy, we can help.

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