Maranoa Regional Council
Maranoa Regional Council

EXCLUSIVE: Maranoa councillors discuss restructure feedback

Maranoa councillors have commented on the overwhelmingly negative response from residents about the proposed $1 million controversial Organisational Structure that will possibly change the way 350 employees operate.

The Western Star reached out to the councillors to hear their thoughts on the feedback to date.

The below questions were posed to each councillor:

  • As an elected member of our community, are you reviewing the community and staff’s feedback daily as it has come in from January 8 to January 25? Or do you expect to receive and review all the feedback at the meeting on January 27-28?
  • Will these concerns be taken into consideration and discussed at length before a decision is made? Or do you expect council will finalise the proposed Organisational Structure at a meeting on January 27-28?
  • If the restructure is voted in favour, when will it be implemented and has it been budgeted for?
  • After reading people’s feedback, has your decision changed at all?
  • Do you believe if you vote in favour/ or against the Organisational Structure at the meeting on January 27/28, you are listening and acting on the voices in the Maranoa?

Cr Golder said he won’t comment his personal capacity until council makes their decision on the matter.

Deputy Mayor Geoff McMullen and Cr Mark Edwards also did not wish to make a comment and Cr Julie Guthrie and John Birkett did not respond before publication.

George Ladbrook

  • In my personal capacity, I am looking forward to being instrumental in making efficient changes to the structure of the MRC. I along with my fellow councillors am constantly reviewing feedback from staff and the community, with regard to the proposed changes. It is a process that I have been following since prior to the election. I take every opportunity to speak to ratepayers when visiting outlying areas or when out and about in the community, to gain an insight from a wide section of the community. I have yet to personally receive any negative feedback from the general public. I welcome anyone who disagrees or wishes to question my motives to speak to me. Prior to the election, many council staff and contractors expressed their discontent and were happy to point out the shortcomings of the current structure. It became obvious to me that there was a need for change.
  • Your question with regard to moving back to the old system is not quite true (and be mindful that in those pre-amalgamation days many of those councils were financially well off). The MRC will, like a business franchise, be the umbrella that covers all communities. Each area will be more able to create its own identity and develop pride in its locality while remaining a valued part of the extended MRC community. Decisions made will be made in and for the smaller community on a more personal level.
  • The issue of operating locally was a key issue taken to the council by mayor Golder and the four councillors making up the Unity Group. To walk away from this initiative would be seen as letting down the community that voted them in. The clear outcome of the election of mayor Golder and the Unity Group and councillor McMullen was, I would have thought, an indication of the obvious direction of the “silent majority” wanted the council to move in.
  • I am very aware that there are members of the community who for many reasons are nervous with or totally against change. It is important that these concerns are taken into account. There is always room for improvement and any constructive criticisms are welcomed, however ultimately the community must leave the final decisions to the councillors that they entrusted to make those decisions. I would like to think that the men or women employed for the director roles are the best persons for the positions whether current employees or not. They must share council’s vision, communicate well with the community and staff and be passionate about the community and its continued progress.

Wendy Taylor

  • Question 1 and 2: I have read all the comments on Have Your Say and I have received and read all the comments from the staff feedback. I also believe we will be informed at the meeting as it should be part of a very lengthy discussion.
  • Question 3: I cannot answer when it will be implemented, and I do not recall it being part of the 2020-21 budget.
  • Question 4: My decision has not changed, and yes, I do believe I am listening and acting on the voices of the Maranoa.

Cameron O’Neil

  • Yes I have been reviewing the community and staff feedback through the ‘have your say’ portal every couple of days. I do expect that councillors will receive the collated feedback the meeting on January 27.
  • I will be considering all of the feedback before finalising my decision. I am unsure if there is broad support across the councillors to give more time to deliberating the feedback prior to the formal decision.
  • I am unaware of an implementation plan or time frame or in fact a business case and I do not recall a budget for implementing this organisational structure being proposed.
  • I am still deliberating on all of the information that has been provided to date along with the feedback from staff and community; but I am confident I will make the best decision I can for the current and future generations of Maranoa residents.

Joh Hancock

  • The community and staff feedback is a really important part of the consultation. Council has received some staff feedback and will receive all staff and community feedback before the meeting on January 27-28 to consider the feedback.
  • As an individual councillor I will be considering all the feedback and my hope is that council will take the time to consider and discuss at length all feedback as a whole of council before voting on the Organisational Structure. This will show the staff and community that council does value their feedback.
  • To my knowledge I am not aware of an implementation date or a budget. There has been rough figures thrown around but I’m not aware of a budget.
  • At this time I am still considering the staff and community feedback regarding the decision and I am still waiting for a business case and budget to be developed. I believe the feedback, business case and the budget information is critical to be able to confidently make an informed decision on this matter.

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