Narrabri GM wants more bloodshed

What kind of GM would want to prevent the Supreme Court exercising jurisdiction to review the standard senior staff contract to test whether it is “unfair, harsh or unconscionable or against the public interest”?

What kind of GM hasn’t been horrified at the “no reason” 38 week payouts used to remove a succession of competent and successful colleagues, whether they be sacked as general managers or other senior staff?

What kind of GM wouldn’t know that the ICAC in their report after investigating Mid-Western in 2016 recommended that something be done about “no reason” termination for senior staff?

And what kind of GM wouldn’t know that these issues are still the focus of the ICAC in their investigation of the former Canterbury, and the smart money is that they will do something in their final recommendations about how the “no reason” termination can allow councils to bully the GM, a GM to bully directors and generally create a lack of confidence in local government management?

Stewart Todd, is that kind of GM.

On 15 November the Supreme Court will consider his objection to our section 106 application that the standard contract is unfair and that the Court should step in and vary it. Mr Todd’s response as the GM who sacked our member at Narrabri, is to try to avoid the matter being dealt with on its merits by arguing the Court doesn’t have the jurisdiction. And if he is right, then no one has the jurisdiction to deal with a contract and employment arrangements that were abandoned by the New South Wales Government for their senior executives in 2013. More bloodshed ahead.

When the Local Government Act 1993 was made, it introduced an arrangement to employ senior staff based on the model operating in the New South Wales public sector - term employment creating vulnerability for employees when it comes time for the contract to be renewed and good employees can find themselves with the Council, for no good reason, simply not renewing. A termination of employment by any other name.

But in 2013 the NSW Government of Mike Baird announced fairer and more secure employment for the State’s Senior Executive Service by transitioning most of them to ongoing employment. And while there remained the possibility for a public authority to terminate one of these executives with 38 weeks’ pay, this required a written report to the Public Service Commissioner, detailing the steps that had been taken and the reasons for the termination. And by amendment later, a requirement that the Public Service Commissioner consent as the technical employer.

But the Government, having renounced these historic and unfair practices didn’t do anything at all to change the model operating in local government - to the detriment of many senior staff.

We can blame the Government generally, and a number of ministers for Local Government in particular for retaining this anachronistic approach. We would have preferred to see them take the “necessary decisions” (OLG joke) to retain parity with practices in the Government Sector.

Local government employment for senior staff should be fair, transparent and sackings examinable. What kind of GM, coming up through the ranks, would not want that?

Stewart Todd, is that kind of GM.

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