Reality television comes to Local Government

Article image - Reality television comes to Local Government

Local Laws officer Arnie Jana; Invertigations Arborist Paul Whitten; Communications Manager Deb Ganderton; Childcare worker Donna Bently; Legal Planner Jennifer Bowdern.

When the producers of the FOX8 reality television series ‘The Singing Office’ decided to showcase the work of Local Government in Australia, they looked for a Council that nobody thought was fun and funky enough to sing and dance on national television. Enter Bayside City Council.

When approached by the producers, Bayside staff jumped at the chance to challenge the stereotype of Local Government workers in Australia, as well as providing a snapshot of the diverse services offered by skilled and competent Council staff. It was an opportunity to show off Melbourne’s beautiful Bayside municipality, as well as the extra talents of Bayside’s exceptional staff.

When the cameras started rolling the enthusiasm levels increased across the entire organisation. Staff auditioned by singing and dancing for the cameras in their workplace – whether it was a park, car, office, childcare centre or library – and were cheered on by colleagues. The Mayor and Councillors even got on board when cameras interrupted a General Committee meeting for the Mayor to give a rendition of ‘Red Red Robin’.

Five staff were selected for the team based on their audition: Communications Manager Deb Ganderton, Local Laws officer Arnie Jana, Legal Support Planner Jennifer Bowdern, Investigations Arborist Paul Whitten and
Childcare worker Donna Bentley.

The Bayside five were whisked off to an intensive two day dancing and singing workshop to learn their routine and prepare for their performance…singing 1980s classic ‘Wild Boys’ by British pop idols Duran Duran. By the night of the performance the entire workforce of some
500 people was buzzing with anticipation and excitement for the team. Placards were made, flags waved and employees from all departments came together to celebrate with staff from departments they would not normally meet.

The Bayside team went up against corporate giant the Ford Motor Company and the studio audience lived up to Bayside’s song by going wild. The result was never in any doubt, as Bayside City Council wiped the floor with the crooners from Ford.

Check out the program on Sundays at 6.30pm on FOX8 until 2 December 2007.