Belt-tightening continues at council

Twenty-three management positions at Latrobe City Council are set to become 17 in a bid to increase efficiency and allow for reinvestment into priority areas.

Eight management roles are currently being advertised and are expected to be filled by mid-October as Latrobe City chief executive Gary Van Driel looks to “streamline the management level”.

Mr Van Driel said the realignment arrives after more than six months as chief executive, with the new structure to align similar disciplines and areas within council.

“(This will) enable both greater efficiency and reinvestment in areas that match the executive team’s priorities, such as safety, innovation, accountability and customer service,” Mr Van Driel said.

“The majority of staff will not be directly impacted by the realignment process.

“The primary focus is on streamlining the management overheads of the organisation, particularly at the manager level.”

Six of the eight positions advertised will replace existing management roles and are to include “considerably altered responsibilities”.

Two new roles – manager of governance and manager of people, safety and risk – have been created.

Latrobe City mayor Dale Harriman said although he was unable to comment on council employment, he was confident ratepayers would receive better value for their dollar.

“As a council, we are happy to see the CEO is looking for ways to get the best value for the ratepayer dollar while still providing effective and efficient service as required by the ratepayers,” Cr Harriman said.

“It’s a case of they’ll still be getting a really good service, but at a lower cost.”

Mr Van Driel did not comment on potential cost saving.

The move by Mr Van Driel comes after an upheaval of Latrobe City’s executive team last year.

In April 2014, then-acting chief executive John Mitchell initiated a restructure reducing the organisation’s five overarching departments to four.

The six months prior saw a mass exodus of council’s former administrative hierarchy, including chief executive Paul Buckley and his entire general management team.

Mr Van Driel said the new structure would focus on customer service, financial sustainability and create functional realignment.

“(It) supports business improvement and innovation, provides a structure that delivers on our strategies (and) invests in safety,” he said.