I unequivocally support our council team. We have a range of highly-talented and gifted individuals working at the Far North District Council. These are people who have chosen to work in the public sector, not because it’s easy or the best-paying job, but because they see the potential. They want to give something back and be part of a better tomorrow. They see the real opportunity, while recognising the many challenges that come with trying to serve a huge district with diverse communities and more diverse personalities.
Working for a council has more challenges than most. On top of being a public entity that is headed by elected representatives, it is both an enforcer and an enabler. It is about five different businesses under one roof and it has a bunch of laws and legislative requirements to manage, implement and monitor. The public, generally speaking, have very little interest in the workings of councils - just look at the numbers that vote. It is an organisation that people generally only have direct involvement with when they are required to meet legislation or they don’t like what is happening in their backyard.
Having been employed by two councils, this one included, I have a pretty good understanding of the pressures that are associated with working for a public body. It is not uncommon for staff to not mention they work for council in social environments. This is unfortunate, but understandable at times.
It can be particularly tough-going for our team when council hits the spotlight. Sometimes it is difficult to have a balanced story. This can be due to many things - we can’t share the details; sometimes people just don’t want to know and then there are the times where you don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story. Of course, sometimes we simply don’t get it right; not intentionally of course. I am not aware of anyone who goes to work and wants to do a crap job.
We fully recognise that we are on the road to recovery. We have come a long way and we still have a way to go. We have a new highly-skilled and dedicated CEO. We have a talented, strong leadership team and we have a great bunch of people dedicated and working hard for you. Will we ever get it all right? I’m not sure that is possible. However, I am confident that we are committed to serving our communities to the best of our ability. I am also confident that all of us, elected or employed, are trying hard to do a good job and grow a high-performing organisation that we can all be proud of, because we all fundamentally believe in this place, our place, the fabulous and beautiful Far North.