Fearless leaders copy everyone - Local Government Managers becomes Local Government Professionals! (But nothing changes)

If you don’t have the answer, copy from someone who does

For an organisation constantly boasting about their leadership to the industry, LGMA, or LGPA in its new disguise, is pretty short on original ideas. We don’t mind consenting adults getting together to pleasure themselves in a group, so we’ve always been bemused by the organisation that started representing the interests of town or shire clerks.

 
The Town Clerks Society, the Institute for Municipal Management, the Local Government Managers Association and now the Local Government Poseurs.  Oops, while that might be more accurate, it really is Professionals.
 
It was never a good business model to be a little organisation covering Town or Shire Clerks (there were never going to be many of them) so it makes sense for them to keep expanding and sucking into their vortex more and more of the hapless and the gullible. Still, rubbing shoulders, or whatever part of the body you prefer, with the self-important and particularly the “leaders”, does provide a degree of pleasure associated with it.
 
When we changed our name from the Environmental Health and Building Surveyors Association to the Development and Environmental Professionals’’ Association in 2003, they should have woken up. The true leaders did it all back more than a decade ago. It’s hard to boast about being the leaders in the industry when you do something that we did 11 ½ years ago. Still, nice to know we influence them in some way.
 
Committed to parenthood statements like management excellence and all that stuff, the LGMA really needs to get its act together about what it is, and what it does. 
 
We remember it most as the organisation responsible for lying back and thinking of the Empire and allowing their members to get well and truly rogered when they jointly developed the first statutory general managers and senior staff contract with the DLG and the LGSA.
 
This is the contract that prohibited the continuation of payment for untaken sick leave for anyone who had it (because they didn’t understand the provision in the Industrial Relations Act that does allow the continuation of payment for untaken sick leave other than in an industrial Award and took the advice of other people who didn’t know) and which famously thought it made sense to introduce a provision to allow the termination of good people by paying 38 weeks’ pay. What an achievement.
 
That meant that the concept of a standard contract, and its content, was developed by permanent bureaucrats in the DLG with all of the protections of the public sector and no expertise in industrial relations, the LGSA representing councillors (yes, the people who would employee general managers) and the IMM, purportedly representing the interests of people who would be employed under the contract but completely ignorant of employment law and industrial relations. Still, they were probably there representing management excellence.
 
The IMM always loved contracts, this was the first organisation that thought they should be introduced for general managers so that the status of the general manager would be better acknowledged. Wasn’t that fabulous vision and leadership! Nine GMs, with no performance problems at all, sacked in the last two years and with no protection or defence.
 
And when the standard contract came up for renewal through a working party, they sat there mute while the three unions argued to remove term employment for general managers and improve the capacity for bonuses and other flexibilities in remuneration. Even at the meeting that coincided with the unreasonable termination of a good GM at Camden, all they could say was that it’s unfortunate when their relationship problems between the GM and councillors. Unfortunate! The real leaders wanted to do something about it.
 
No interest at all in protecting senior staff as employees and, change their name as they might, no interest in in protecting professionals generally either.
 
And now they run HR conferences. Move on, nothing to learn here. 
 
If they were really looking for a P word, there are plenty of better and more accurate options.
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