Council staff not living in their area

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14 years 8 months ago #1348 by reggit
Here's one that I've been pondering all weekend...what brought it up was an uncle who works for a council complaining that he is having to be on call for all the after hours and weekend call outs as only a handful of the staff at their office actually live within the council boundaries.

I hadn't really thought about it until he made the comment that he is not sure how fair it is that those staff, who are making the decisions that affect ratepayers (services, planning etc), don't actually have to live under those decisions themselves.

I know that when I was contracting to local government, one of the requirements was that I had to live within the area that I was serving as local knowledge and contact with that community was considered paramount.

And it also raises the issue about regional and local politicians who don't physically live in their constituency but only own rental properties there.

Be interested in others' views on this...

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14 years 8 months ago #58609 by wino
Agree with you, and I would have thought that preference in employing staff should be given to residents of the district
Bit two faced of them too! Have also been contracted to local government over the years and the 'local presence' thing will come up every time! (in fact I have known them to use it to justify paying more for the same work)
Would also think that if they make locals always on call they should demand a hefty salary increase!

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14 years 8 months ago #58617 by max2
We have a former local town planner for our district just 2 houses up the road. The inunendo this Guy and his family have suffered, when things didn't go others way, was incredible.

He quickly left our Council and went back to his former employer the adjoining council, however most in the area still had no idea he wasn't employed by the local mob.

I can fully understand after seeing his experience and hearing the spite others have for this fellow, why council staff who have to make decisions on local policies and implementation procedures, police and all forms of "enforcement" agencies live away from their working areas....

However I probably would agree that they should, if I hadn't known of this example...:(

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14 years 8 months ago #58644 by belinda_h
And then, sometimes the boundaries are a bit arbitrary. I lived in Carterton and worked for Masterton council. Didn't matter at all that I lived 10 minutes down the road.
Sometimes the only job available is going to be in a different local authority area, even if it is within commute distance. I'd rather have a good council staffer who lives across the river, than a substandard person who lives nearer to the office.

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14 years 8 months ago #58646 by reggit
But what about those at the top rungs of council who make the big decisions - the group managers, the councillors, the CEO - if they are making the big decisions that the local ratepayers have to live with then why should they not have to live under those decisions too, rather than living in another council area?

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14 years 8 months ago #58696 by max2
Initially I agree Tigger. Our local state member lives 2 hours away with his new partner, but grew up in the area, and most of his 1st family and ex wife who publicly caused him a lot of grief are still here.

How he finds the time to be in his office at our local village, at Parliament in Sydney, and back south where he really lives, I don't know. I doubt he is home much at all.
Would hate to have his fuel bills that is for sure (but wait, perhaps I already do, as a taxpayer[:0]).

However Joe Public isn't "normal" anymore. The aforementioned neighbour has a restraining order out on a couple of people who he "upset" via his departmental decisions, and he told me its getting quite "normal" now for people in his position (and therefore I would think upwards as well) to have to seek restraining orders against folk who are upset at decisions made.

Whilst the people that you speak of are public figures who have placed themselves in the box seat, I feel a great deal of sympathy for their families as they try to go about their business.
It nearly gets made impossible, and the kids safety is always paramount because of the Joe Public Nutters out there who will resort to making their point however they feel they can get best get the message across...

But I do know what you mean and in the ideal world and I would expect the same..

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14 years 8 months ago #58753 by ravenseyes
Wouldn't some of it depend on where. For instance take Hamilton - if you worked for HCC you could live in Hamilton city but if you were wanting to be a LSBer:D you would be living in either Waikato DC or Waipa DC depending where you were yet you could be within a 10 minute drive (like me) of downtown Hamilton. Equally many people live in Raglan or Cambridge and commute to Hamilton (which probably takes them less time than getting around Auckland)

I would be worried that if councils started requiring employees to reside in their area they would actually loose out on expertise because people where living on the wrong side of a map line.



Brave Words. I've heard them before from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created, but now, they are all Borg.

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14 years 8 months ago #58779 by oskatd
Exactly ravenseyes, It happens all the time here in tauranga where the city council only covers the city area and all around the city is western bay - most people don't even know that there are two councils as the head office for western bay is in tauranga city! to be honest in the professions where there are shortages of staff i don't really think councils can be that fussy!

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14 years 8 months ago #58786 by wino
Being too far away to be on call isn't on I reckon.

And as I said I have seen councils pay more for the same work because the contractor resided locally - why can't that apply to staff as well?

Swaggie on the abuse thing many years ago big business in an area wanted to do something that required resource consent and the local residents didn't want them to for several valid reasons. The local planner reported to a council meeting and was ummm...mistaken... about traffic counts and over what time period they had been taken and seemed to think the traffic numbers were a lot lower per day than actual... He got some abuse on the way out too from the people who were his employers (the ratepayers) - not nearly enough IMO

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14 years 8 months ago #58791 by max2

quote:Originally posted by wino

Swaggie on the abuse thing many years ago big business in an area wanted to do something that required resource consent and the local residents didn't want them to for several valid reasons. The local planner reported to a council meeting and was ummm...mistaken... about traffic counts and over what time period they had been taken and seemed to think the traffic numbers were a lot lower per day than actual... He got some abuse on the way out too from the people who were his employers (the ratepayers) - not nearly enough IMO

Giving someone a piece of your mind is certainly one thing, calling them a tosser or whatever is another, putting pen to paper for the media print is also fair game for stupidity at govt level, but when someone (or their family) is physically threatened, then its not on.

No one agrees with domestic violence, so why would it be any more acceptable to threaten someone simply because a decision, even perhaps a wrong one, is basically not agreeable to One's own position on an issue?

Seems to me a sign of an immaturity and thuggery.

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14 years 8 months ago #58817 by oskatd
Wino, if council employees are employed by ratepayers (which in my opinion they are not) then surely anyone who takes a cent in any sort of benefit or hand out from the government is then employed by us the tax payers, oh, i can't wait to start ordering them around and start being rude to them the way people seem to think is their right to treat council staff!

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14 years 8 months ago #58821 by wino
exactly oskatd.

Actually (and I will stress that I have spent a long time working for Government and contracted to Local government as well as working privately over the years so I have been treated as the 'pratt from the council' many times) I am still amazed how lacking in public relations skills many local and central government staff are...(which is why people are rude back IMO). I have known very tough rates clerks - who no one was ever abusive to even though they spent a lot of time demanding money off those who didn't pay their rates and pointing out the consequences of continued non payment. And I have known smart alecs at the counter that were continually abused.

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14 years 8 months ago #58822 by wino
I should probably add:

That the way council staff behave is actually a fairly hot topic to me - I might go away now before I really get started...

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14 years 8 months ago #58861 by beedee
Tigger, I can see your point but dont agree.
IF a worker has to be experiencing what they do, then most doctors shouldnt be where they are, that would mean no gynae could be a man, breast surgeons would have had to have had cancer.. plastic surgeons needing reconstructive surgery etc etc.
I do believe that the politician should live near where his area is, as he/she is representing that area..Id far rather have an educated and understanding person behind any desk rather than where they sleep... still doesnt mean that they understand the concepts pertaining to the area.. I visit my neighbour, and that 200 m shows a totally different view of our area, so we live in the same area but see different things,where one does the dishes or sleeps isnt part of the job criteria really. more what goes on and is retained in that area between the pinnas:D

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