In the response to the recent letter by Lorraine Roebuck concerning the Extraordinary Council meeting on the 29 January, 2019 I would like to publicly state that the Senior Executive of Lithgow City Council have my full support and confidence.
A number of statements made by Ms Roebuck are inaccurate and require a response: Lithgow City Council is committed to securing the employment of its staff and at the conclusion of 2017/18 had 185 staff and increase in 9 over the previous year.
Council since recruitment of the current General Manager has undertaken considerable structural change within the organisation and as I stated at the meeting this will deliver $2.5 million dollars in savings in the next financial year.
Council’s infrastructure backlog was reported as $28.3M in the 2017/18 financial statements (Special Schedule 7). Of this amount, roads were around $10.5M. The backlog is defined as the “estimated cost to bring to the agreed level of service set by Council”. Review of the LEP will be undertaken by Council this year and where necessary changes will be made.
The zoning of land for any use does not necessarily mean it will be taken up by commercial interest. In attracting industries and commercial ventures to Lithgow Council needs to ensure that those industries will be viable and create real employments opportunities. Large warehouse complex that employ only a couple of people will not help our economy grow. Regardless of the low renumeration Councillors receive, it is the elected Councillors who make the decision not the senior executive. All Councillors are required to undertake due diligence in relation to any issue that they vote on. If they do not understand any aspect of the matter then it is incumbent on them to ask relevant questions. Councillor do not vote solely on the advice of the senior managers.
I did state that Council needs to improve its communication. What I was referring to was both the elected Councillors and the Administration. When I posted information on the average rates – a former Council employee criticised me claiming it is the role of the General Manager. Wrong – it is the Councillors who make the decision and it is part of their responsibility to communicate the issue in tandem with the Administration.
I would like to ask Ms Roebuck why as Secretary of the Lithgow District Chamber and their President, both present at the meeting did not speak on behalf of their membership.
Cr Steven Ring,
Lithgow City Council