Leadership and vision rewarded

Tony Lawson, City Manager at the City of Mitcham and Bob Fidock, General Manager of Corporate Services at the City of Adelaide, have been honoured as the joint winners of the 1997 Graeme Dimond Memorial Award.

The South Australian Award recognising service to Local Government, is granted on the basis of the recipient's leadership, ability, ethics and vision. It is named in honour of Graeme Dimond who served Local Governmentin South Australia for 33 years. Presenting the Award, then Local Government Association of South Australia President, Cr John Ross, said both men displayed the same important qualities.

"Local Government is going through a considerable period of change," he said. "How well Councils adapt to that change is largely determined by the leadership, innovation and flexibility of their Managers."

Late last year, Bob Fidock found himself in the unenviable position of having been seconded to the CEO position at Adelaide during a time of considerable controversy. When the State Government moved to sack the Council following a split between elected members, Bob had to steer the organisation through a time of rumour, insecurity and intense political lobbying, as well as maintain the day to day business of Council.

Tony Lawson was nominated for his ability in 'taking the organisation through a significant grassroots change focusing on both customer service and staff job satisfaction, as well as improving overall efficiency in Council.' Since joining Mitcham as City Manager two years ago, Tony has taken the organisation through a fundamental change program bringing it into the 21st century.

"We are a much more customer responsive organisation than we were a few years ago," he said. "We have improved processes to get rid of bureaucratic red tape that is unnecessary and detracts from good customer service. All this has been achieved with full staff participation."

The Award includes a grant which recipients may direct to study or development of benefit to Local Government. Bob Fidock hopes to use his grant to commence tertiary studies in Marketing both in his own and Council's interest.

"There is a general apathy in the community about Local Government," he said "It is important that the community becomes more active and interested in Council activities."