Bega Valley Shire Council will again front the NSW IRC next week

Council will face the NSW Industrial Relations Commission again next week over current staff restructuring, stemming from this year’s budget.

Council said on Thursday it had a strong case to argue at the compulsory conference on November 16, and the cost of redundancies is “accommodated within the existing budget parameters”.

However, Stuart Geddes from the United Services Union said following a review of council’s documentation, “we still have a number of concerns relating to the substantive grades of the new positions”.

“We need to address and resolve these issues so that we can provide certainty and the best possible outcomes for our affected members,” he said.

It was revealed on Thursday the continuation of the position of director of planning and environment, left vacant following the resignation of Andrew Woodley, would be determined by general manager Leanne Barnes in consultation with councillors.

Council said it was unable to comment on whether the role of manager of community, culture and information would continue.

A former council employee, who wished not to be named, said the restructuring may distance council further from the community it serves.

“The merger of the coordinator roles of Community Development and Community Strategic Plan (CSP) roles was perhaps most puzzling,” they said. “The CSP is a major piece of local community planning. It seems to reflect a low value for their own planning and strategies.

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COMMENT: Bega Valley Council restructure to run the IRC gauntlet

“Halving the community development resourcing is likely to mean less representation by council at community meetings, less engagement and advocacy for community needs, and probably less funding opportunities will be seized upon.

“How can half possibly be better? With no detailed plan on how council intends to be more efficient.”

They said the move may undo a lot of the hard work staff have done since restructuring in 2015.

“It all felt a bit knee jerk reaction. Long term strategies have been long forgotten, as political games play out,” they said.