Carol Altmann – The Terrier
Having read the statement issued to the Warrnambool Standard today by the four horsemen of the apocalypse, there was only one thing to do: call in Barry, the Boolshite Detector.
Barry is the only one capable of pulling apart this 430-word piece of councillor codswallop, offered up as an excuse as to why the CEO’s head was suddenly cut off in the dark of night, with no witnesses, other than those sitting behind closed doors in the kangaroo court of 25 Liebig St.
These same four also last night passed a gag order, which is probably not enforceable and seemingly doesn’t apply to the four who passed it. This gag prevents the Mayor or any other councillors from revealing any further details of what unfolded, especially how much it will cost us ratepayers.
So, in less than two hours last night, four of our seven councillors sacked the CEO, gagged the Mayor, and another two councillors, before creeping out this morning – bloodied hands washed and dried – to tell us it was all for our own good.
Over to you Barry. His bullshite interpreter is in blood red.
Statement to the Standard by Warrnambool City councillors Sue Cassidy, Kylie Gaston, Mike Neoh and David Owen:
“Some will wonder why we are seeking to make a key personnel change.
You must be wondering why we decided to throw the CEO out now, so close to an election, when you could throw us out.
While you may understandably be feeling some concern, we’d like to remind you that every large organisation, whether government or private, must occasionally, in the best interest of that organisation, go through such a process.
We like to sound patronising and caring as we move into election mode.
You have elected us to make the right decisions for this community.
We make the decisions and then tell you about them later, and this time we have put a gag in place, just for extra comfort.
Sadly some recent choices have not worked out and now we are attempting to correct that situation, prior to the next council term.
We %$%ed up the appointment process, we signed off on all the performance reviews, and now we are trying to cover our asses before the next election. (Barry, tone down the language.)
If we didn’t feel so strongly about the situation we would never have made this decision so close to an election.
We had hoped to chop the CEO before Covid-19, now we are running out of time.
Council and the community have high expectations and we have set a high bar.
So high that, for example, we let certain staff run amok with council corporate credit cards – that little blip – but did nothing until it was exposed by that pain in the bum, The Terrier.
The community and staff surveys have sent a loud and clear message about the organisation’s communication and engagement as being both lacking and dismissive in nature.
These results were extremely concerning given that ‘staff culture’ and ‘community engagement’ was asked to be elevated as key organisational priorities and risks.
It has also been baffling as to why one of our most successful engagement strategies, the Warrnambool City Council 2040 Plan, has seen the operational implementation of the plan both neglected and stripped of resources after being given contrary assurances at the highest level.
The CEO was so busy getting rid of the bullies and sorting out the mess he inherited, that he didn’t focus enough on the 2040 plan. That is baffling, and sackable!
Having engaged with thousands of community members and almost 100 supporting organisations in developing the plan, it’s disturbing that councillor’s continual requests for appropriate operational support has fallen on deaf ears.
He had 17 months to get the Titanic in order, what more does he want?
This is just not acceptable.
Having someone milk our credit cards? Shrug. Spending $40,000 on renovations to a council-owned apartment where the former CEO’s executive assistant lived for 30 years without a written lease? Yawn. Watching Flagstaff Hill bleed us dry while we raise rates to double the cap? Boring! Not getting that 2040 Plan up and running? Now you’re talking! Unacceptable!
Councillors have developed a plan with you, the community, and we made a pledge to you that we are committed to it being resourced and implemented.
There are lots of other plans we have developed too, and done nothing about – they sit on shelves – but this one! This is the one! You want it, you got it!
We are confident that the acting CEO will reinforce our values, particularly with staff, and pursue Warrnambool’s interests with passion and represent us well with external stakeholders.
We know this, because we had her lined up from day one of this coup plan. Pity we didn’t hire her in the first place and saved you all a lot of money.
Whilst there may be diverse views in the community and among councillors, potentially the one thing that will hold the city back is obsessively dwelling on the past and using the past as an excuse.
This has worked for others, so we thought we might try it too. Forget the past! And especially forget the parts where we might have aided and abetted a certain culture while the council slowly fell apart financially, in community trust and in staff morale. Move on, people!
We believe that our decision, as difficult as it has been, is in the very best interest of our community.
And that’s why we did it without telling you anything.
To convey a clear plan and pathway forward, for you the community, we have put in place a time- line that will see the newly-elected council undertake a recruitment process post council election which is scheduled for October 2020.
We are already telling the next council what to do. This is how we roll.
Now that the decision has been made, we expect the Mayor and all councillors to move forward and continue to focus on the aspirations and needs of the community for the remainder of the current council term.
Sorry, this is too much even for Barry. He has passed out.
If you would like to support the Terrier, you can throw something in the tip jar below.