Melbourne City Council forks out $300,000 in another round of consultants reports to recommend where it should save costs but so as to not be held accountable as to its choice of implementation the menu will not be published
Source: The Age
There is no doubt that the City Council is overstaffed and over governed. Finances in the City Council are overstretched with John So having raided the Councils reserves on an unchecked spending spree reducing the Councils working capital ratio to the lowest on record.
The City Council is facing a major crisis in the retail sector as the cost of doing business in the City Center soars and customers prefer to shop else where where parking is free and their dollar goes further. The City center is no longer the home of Melbourne entertainment or shopping. Major cultural assets such as the Museum of Victoria have been located at the outskirts of the city centre instead of taking center stage.
The city is facing serious decline as a result poor planning and governance policies undertaken over the last 10-15 years. Rob Adams should either take on more responsibility or be sacked, he has created his own portflio and job description excluding the tasks that he does not want and can not to deal with.
The Council administration has become fat and non-productive. It exist to support itself taxing the life from the city itself. Walk down Melbourne's Swanston Street and you will soon see the quality of retail more $2 junk shops and sex shows then Kings cross.
We have no doubt that the City can and should undergo a major cut back in the top end. Two directorships at least should be scrapped and their functions merged.
The Ernst & Young consultants report should be published. the ratepayers and citizens of Melbourne have a right to know the true extent and recommendation that are before the City Council prior to the City Council doing a butchers hatched job to dress the mutton up as being lamb.
Council rejig to cut jobs
The Age - May 9, 2007
RADICAL overhaul of Melbourne City Council appears certain, after consultants recommended the sacking of at least two layers of senior management in a secret report.
A number of top-level staff — including two directors — are likely to lose their jobs in what is looming as the biggest shake-up at the council in 14 years.
Senior staff today will be given the report on how the council can cut costs — for which consultants Ernst & Young were paid $300,000.
But the confidential document — which contains crucial financial recommendations — will be kept from the public for several weeks until budget negotiations near completion.
Council chief executive David Pitchford last week forced councillors to sign confidentiality agreements before they were given a copy of the report.
The nine councillors were warned they risked being sacked if they discussed publicly any of the report's findings before its official wider release on June 3.
However, one councillor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, has described the report as "a bombshell".
The Age believes Ernst & Young has recommended how the council can cut its costs by more than $5 million.
In part, the report recommends slashing senior staff numbers, which have almost doubled under Mr Pitchford, who is Victoria's highest paid council officer on a salary of up to $396,000.
At least 85 staff at the council are on salaries in excess of $100,000; when Mr Pitchford became chief executive in 2003 there were 46 in that bracket.
Lord Mayor John So last night said: "Like any organisation, (the council) can actively find opportunities to do things better, smarter and cheaper."
The Age believes the report finds the council:
■ Should reduce its number of directors from seven to five.
■ Needs to undergo a structural reorganisation.
■ Should reduce its salary bill by cutting the number of staff paid more than $100,000.
■ Is too reliant on consultants.
■ Should consider farming out some services, including child care, to the private sector.
The likelihood of a major restructure comes despite Mr Pitchford last year reorganising the council to try to make it function more effectively.
The Lord Mayor came under fire last night for allowing the report to be made confidential.
"John So should not allow this sort of thing to go on behind closed doors," former lord mayor Kevin Chamberlin said.
"This is a misuse of the confidentiality provisions of the Local Government Act. It is using the act to hide financial information from the public that will embarrass the council."
A second councillor told The Age the Ernst & Young consultants had "identified some very serious inadequacies within certain departments".
"It implies what a lot of us have been wanting: a shrinkage of directors," the councillor said.
Mr Pitchford last night defended having spent $300,000 on the report.
"This is not a public review," he said. "It is for internal purposes. The report will remain confidential until its findings and recommendations can be fully assessed."