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Sword leads his army

EYE ON FUTURE: Bryan Sword, the acting CEO of South Gippsland Shire Council, wants to put council’s tumultuous period behind him.

THE staff of South Gippsland Shire Council now are free from the shackles of dysfunctional councillors and want to get on with what they love to do: serving the people of the region.
That’s the word from the council’s acting CEO, Bryan Sword, who is working to restore morale amongst his staff in the wake of the dismissal of council by the Victorian Parliament, and at the same time, declare the region open for business.
While councillors fought amongst themselves, they also damaged council’s reputation, resulting in staff being abused by members of the public unable to distinguish between councillors and staff.
While Mr Sword is unaware of staff resigning due to the fractious council, the dysfunction impacted staff’s wellbeing.
He said the staff had shown “amazing resilience” over 18 months of scrutiny by the municipal monitor and then the Commission of Inquiry.
“Part of my role at the moment is to provide stability within the organisation,” he said.
“It’s been a challenging time for all involved: the council, the staff and the community.”
He said the fine work of staff was recognised by the findings of the municipal monitor and Commission of Inquiry’s reports.
Staff were concerned by the departure of former CEO Tim Tamlin and how he left after councillors voted not to reinstate him as CEO, nor accept his application for the role when they called for candidates.
“Tim’s legacy is that he built and supported the organisation over a 10 year period and the final chapter of that is how the monitor’s report and the inquiry showed that he did a good job,” he said.
Mr Sword will remain acting CEO for no more than 12 months under the Local Government Act, while a yet to be appointed panel of three administrators searches for a new CEO.
Mr Sword did not rule himself of contention.
Administrator Julie Eisenbise has been appointed as interim administrator for 90 days and is likely to be one of the three administrators.
The acting CEO will work with the administrators to advance council’s priority projects: upgrading Bair Street and the Leongatha rail yards, extending the Great Southern Rail Trail from Leongatha to Korumburra, developing the Korumburra Community Hub and Korumburra streetscape, Mirboo North pool redevelopment and extending the Leongatha Heavy Vehicle Alternate Route via Hughes Street.
Mr Sword said council would seek government funding for the Korumburra hub once detailed designs were completed and also for the Leongatha rail yards redevelopment once VicTrack finalises a lease for the site with council.
That is expected within weeks.
“I’m keen to see this area prosper and be involved in opening opportunities to the wider area,” he said.
As for the future of Coal Creek Community Park and Museum at Korumburra, Mr Sword said council was developing a business plan for the park and would seek direction from the administrators.
“Coal Creek is a community asset like pools, like halls. It’s used by the community but also recognises the cultural history of the area,” he said.
Council is recruiting for an acting director of development services – the role previously held by Mr Sword.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=29388

Posted by on Jul 9 2019. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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