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|Editions > 2006 > November||Monday May 20, 2013 - Melbourne Time: 06:13:01|
Recognising LG's high achievers
At the 2006 Local Government Managers Australia National Congress in Perth, FOCUS invited delegates to nominate individuals or teams from their Council who are improving their Council's operations and meeting community needs. In this edition, we showcase two of our high achievers for 2006.
David Jones, Manager Corporate Affairs, City of Devonport, Tasmania
Located on the Mersey River in the heart of the North West Coast of Tasmania, the City of Devonport is a river port. The City is the home to the Spirit of Tasmania luxury passenger and vehicular ferries, which connects Devonport with Melbourne. While located close to the Tasmanian high country, including spectacular Cradle Mountain, Devonport has a temperate coastal climate influenced by the ocean. It has a population of approximately 26,000 people and 116 square kilometres in area.
Alderman Grant Goodwin nominated Council's Manager Corporate Services, David Jones to appear in FOCUS. "David has diligently updated Council leases and legal issues and is a valuable employee," he said. "He is very good at his job and always goes further than most people in Local Government. His support to Alderman is impeccable, and his law background means his support and advice is always correct and especially appreciated in tricky issues."
David Jones' Local Government career spans some 23 years. Working for Launceston City Council for 17 years, David began at Devonport six years ago and has since worked in administrative roles.
David said that his current role as Corporate Services Manager is quite broad, covering the entire administration of Council. As well as assisting the Mayor and Alderman, his key responsibilities include managing and tracking Council records, tracking documents going in and out of the organisation, insurance, risk management, industrial relations, human resources, and buying and selling properties.
David said that while the organisation is well served with staff and IT systems, he has faced several challenges across his extensive career.
"One challenge has been encouraging people to look at the way they do things and see if it can be done more efficiently," he said. "This is a common problem that most organisations face, but it is critical to ensure that people are taking responsibility for themselves and their workmates."
David Jones said that technology is another challenge that presents itself in all organisations. "Receiving a simple email with a long attachment and being asked to respond quite quickly is becoming more and more common," he said. "Technology has made some processes quicker, but it can swamp you with the long submissions that people are now capable of presenting."
David said his legal background has trained him to look at problems from a different angle, and also to see potential problems looming.
"It's an inbuilt feeling that you get," he said. "It is a great skill to have and reduces a lot of stress later if a problem can be solved before it occurs."
David is currently working on a new system that will allow Council agendas to be constructed and managed more efficiently.
"We can use modern technology or it can use us," he said. "At Devonport, we are aiming to get technology to serve us. We are also in the process of developing an electronic occupational health and safety (OH&S) system. The framework comprises all OH&S details, incidents, accidents, claims and so forth, so that they can be better tracked and we can eliminate the risk of incident/accident reoccurrence."
David Jones said this task has proved to be quite challenging as it involves determining the risk elements of every Council job, and then assessing ways to minimise these risks.
As a relative small Council, with approx 200 staff members, David said he most enjoys the people he works with.
"You come across all skills and walks of life," he said. "You would be surprised at who knows what and if there is question that needs addressing, you don't have to look far to find the answer. We have our own little community here at Devonport, and the skills are amazing."
Since being nominated, David has taken on the role of Acting General Manager, until a new General Manager is appointed in December.
Toodyay Visitor Centre team, Toodyay Shire Council, Western Australia
Located approximately 85 kilometres north east of Perth, the Shire of Toodyay retains the charm and magic of its early settlement. Featuring some of the finest examples of 19th century architecture, much of its heritage reflects the town's early convict history.
With 1,200 people residing in the township of Toodyay and a further 4,000 in outlying areas, the Shire covers 1,700 square kilometres.
CEO, Graham Merrick, nominated the Toodyay Visitor Centre team to appear in FOCUS for their outstanding efforts in increasing promotion of tourism and visitation to the area.
Manager of the Centre, Charmaine Duri, said through brainstorming and research the centre has implemented many initiatives that have led to visitor number more than doubling over a 12 month period.
"In 2004/2005, 28,000 people came through our centre," she said. "We have improved greatly on this figure, with some 58,000 people passing through during the 2005/2006 period. With assistance from Graham Merrick, we began researching ways to increase interest in the area in November 2004. By January 2005, we began implementing key initiatives, such as a new website."
Charmaine Duri said Toodyay's new tourism website, which incorporates a book easy system, has greatly assisted online accommodation bookings.
"The website is a great help, as many people now prefer do things online," she said.
The centre employs eight staff, including one full time, one trainee, two permanent part time and four casual staff members. The centre also works with 11 volunteers who assist in running Council's newly refurbished Old Gaol Museum, which tells the story of Moondyne Joe, Western Australia's most famous bushranger.
Charmaine Duri said Visitor Centre staff have spent a lot of time going to expos across Western Australia, and a considerable amount of money has been spent on marketing brochures.
"With beautiful country gardens, lavender fields, olive groves, historic wine cellars, an emu farm and colonial era tea shops, there are many aspects of Toodyay to promote," she said. "We have received fantastic feedback for many initiatives, including our wildflower map, which pinpoints where wildflowers are and provides information, directions and photographs."
The Visitor Centre building was also upgraded, now incorporating 'Ye Olde Lolly Shop', which is home to old fashioned hard boiled lollies and other sweets.
Charmaine said the lolly shop attracts locals, visitors and even bus tours.
"We also researched local products, which have become part of a display and sale section at the centre," she said. "Serving as a gift shop, this attracts locals as well and has increased the sales of local goods.
"Brochure racks have been updated and an A2 sized tourist map has been developed which shows where everything is around the town." Through negotiations with Targa rallies, the TargaWest rally car races have also been bought to Western Australia.
Charmaine Duri said that previously, the rally was only in Tasmania.
"Now well known as the race that Peter Brock died in, the TargaWest Rally crosses several Shires in Western Australia, including Toodyay," she said. "This event is great for tourism and our economy and provides a different kind of entertainment in the Shire."
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