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Gold Plated Staff Provide Leaden Customer Service

At the same time as the general Maribyrnong community was masking up and carefully reviewing personal finances about 200 Maribyrnong staff received pay rises of about three-thousand dollars each.

Actually, all the 500+ staff automatically received payrises in July. But according to the annual report, bands 5 and 6 have the largest groupings of staff and their pay rises were about three thousand dollars.

So Level 5 employees now enjoy base pay of between $73,000 and $83,000 and their colleagues one band up, get base pay ranging from $87,000 to $95,000.

On top of their base pay, Maribyrnong City Council employees have a generous Enterprise Bargaining Agreement that provides for flexible work hours and training and various allowances depending on what type of work they do and whether they supervise other staff, or have to wear certain clothing.

In 2019, MCC also allocated $300,000 in study assistance for staff. I don’t know what they’re spending this year, because the figure is only available in the annual report, which comes out at the end of every year.

This $300,000 from rates revenue goes towards training such as ‘positive leader programs’ ‘ emotional intelligence coaching’ ‘presentation skills’ the 'LGPro annual conference and Dinner’ and ‘superannuation sessions.’

And there’s also an Employee Assistance Program (cost unknown) which offers free and confidential counselling for staff. And a permanent Workplace Consultative Committee that regularly provides feedback to the Directors and CEO.

There’s no doubt Council is a generous and supportive employer. And so it should be.

However, all this generosity does not produce better customer service for the ratepayers who provide the wages, nor for any other residents.

A ratepayer who asked Council what paperwork was needed to build a carport is now being pursued by Council for not having the right paperwork - because the planning staff gave him the all clear, but they didn't check with their colleagues in the building section. And the Building Section staff found out about the carport and according to them, there's a problem. Not one Manager or Director is taking any responsibility for the fact their staff stuffed up. The Planning Director told a Council meeting it was residents' responsibility to make sure they had all the permits they needed.

Another ratepayer’s parked car was hit by a garbage truck. Neither the Council staff nor the contracted waste collector will take any responsibility for paying damages and Council staff are refusing to provide any help.

Another ratepayer had furniture crushed by hard rubbish collectors who picked up the wrong pile of ‘refuse’ while the family was doing renovations. Again, Council staff are refusing to take any responsibility for the error or to help the resident in any way.

How is it that the generous (and secure) working conditions funded by ratepayers get absolutely no reciprocity from Council staff, Directors or the CEO?

The short answer is that the Council does not have a customer-focused culture. It has a staff-focused culture.

And culture comes from the CEO. The CEO is responsible for managing Directors and staff and the Councillors are responsible for managing the CEO.

The few examples in this article indicate that in Maribyrnong Council, nobody is managing anyone.

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