Bendigo Council review a step too far: Reade

COUNCILLORS are overstepping their powers by hiring someone to undertake an independent review of the City of Greater Bendigo, according to former councillor James Reade. 

Mr Reade, who didn’t seek re-election last year, said they had “definitely jumped over the line”. 

“As a councillor I was a strong advocate against the review,” he said. 

“As a council they are elected to make decisions for our community. 

“The council itself only employs one person and that’s the CEO. 

“To undertake an independent review of the whole organisation and start getting into the details around putting performance measures on staff and things is well and truly outside the council’s brief.”

Mr Reade said the organisation was already efficient and effective and said some councillors were focused on making headlines and getting their names in the paper. 

“The council gets reviewed well and truly enough for a whole range of things,” he said. 

“It’s about focussing, getting down and doing the jobs, rather than continually trying to get headlines and get your name in the paper as I think some councillors are trying to do. 

“There are plenty of ways you can make things more efficient but you also cut services in the same way. 

“It also means another project or another road doesn’t get done.” Mr Reade said staff morale would suffer under the review. 

“It’s a bit scary in terms of the future of what the council is going to do,” he said. 

“It is a really good place and we don’t need negative people who are trying to get their names in the paper and get some headlines, (to) come in and try to continually review and criticise everything the council does.”

Mayor Lisa Ruffell said while Mr Reade was entitled to his views, she disagreed. 

“What I’ve been saying all along is that it’s about good business sense; every multi-million dollar business would have fresh eyes looking into an organisation to see what they can improve, or add on in terms of staff,” she said. 

“We might need more staff in certain areas.

“I think anything at this scale would have an impact on staff. 

“But the CEO and myself have been assuring staff and taking them along the process all the way and we will keep doing that.”

Cr Ruffell said staff often had intimate knowledge of how the organisation was run and could offer a good insight. 

“I think that we’ve got to wait for the review and see what comes out of it,” she said. 

“I’m hoping that it will come out with some great suggestions to make the organisation even better.”

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