WANGARATTA councillor Julian Fidge wants a shake-up of senior roles in the wake of the departure of five high-level staff members.
Cr Fidge has lodged three notices of motion for the council’s next meeting, including the possibility of new directorships for planning, finance and economic development.
The council has had three directors reporting to the chief executive. Economic development was performed at an executive manager level, also reporting to the chief executive.
Last week’s departure of chief executive Doug Sharp, directors Ray Park, Ruth Tai and Andrew Close and economic development manager Graham Nickless has cleared the decks for an overhaul.
Planning and finance fell into the sustainability directorship, previously performed by Mr Park.
Cr Fidge will be after the support of acting chief executive Kelvin Spiller to consider creating planning and finance directors and not appoint an economic development manager until deciding whether the role is worthy of an upgrade to director status.
The council appoints the chief executive. The search for Mr Sharp’s replacement has started and that person will be responsible for hiring the directors.
Cr Fidge said if council created planning and finance directors, existing staff should be considered for the roles.
He said planners made most of the municipality’s planning decisions and “the council should consider planning serious enough to elevate it to this level”.
Cr Fidge said the council’s budget of $60 million justified a finance director.
“The finance manager has worked at the director level, attending meetings and briefing councillors in the same manner as directors,” he said.
Cr Fidge said economic development was also crucial and it would be prudent to postpone appointments until the council considered the level it wished this executive to function.
He said the council should not appoint an executive manager who did not have the education, training or experience to operate as a director if “council later wishes to elevate this important function to director level”.