Changing the Culture

Resident David Poole requested to speak at the January 16 Council Meeting but, just as he started, the Mayor refused him the right to continue, saying he could only speak to the topic on the agenda. Because we were there to hear the motion re the appointment of a new General Manager’s position, we were left puzzled at Poole being muzzled.

Here are his thoughts . . .


The selection of a new General Manager is probably the most important issue this group of councillors will have to address.

The selection process needs to consider many things,

not least of which is how a new General Manager can change the culture of this organisation, which is much needed.

Few staff seem to understand that their role is to serve the community, not dictate to us. Theirs is an attitude for whom self-entitlement is the norm, at the expense of the community who pay them.

This attitude of treating the public with denigrating comments and half truths, especially at council meetings, and treating councillors like fools, needs to change.

There are innumerable examples where councillors and the public have been treated like fools – The Masters’ site acquisition, the civic precinct development, the handling of the General Manager’s resignation, and other issues, the list goes on.

A change agent is needed. The new General Manager has a big task.

Although 95 percent of the community seem unaware or to care, there is 5 percent who are now onto this fact and will be actively opposing council’s previous strategies of handing out half truths and lies to keep that 95 percent accepting their incredibly poor performance.

It is incumbent upon councillors to ensure that a new General Manager is appointed whose main task is not staying in the job until he or she retires, but to quickly change the culture and performance of this organisation.

The GM needs to have set  clear performance criteria for the first two years of his/her contract, reflecting the need for change.

I hope that councillors develop, and put in place, a plan that selects a new GM who will bring MidCoast Council into the present century and provide value for money to the community, as well as generating a sense of pride in the work they do and not a sense of entitlement as seen in some of the present council staff.

It is hoped that the timetable associated with the performance goals is two years or less, and that the goals are easily quantified and able to be measured.

This is important, especially considering that the present culture is now worse than it was starting to become at Taree council before the merger.

This council has gone backwards in time, NOW is the opportunity to get it right! With the right person from outside the inbred council culture.

David Poole



  • Thanks to David for bringing this important issue to attention. A new General Manager who can clean up the mess left by Handford is absolutely essential if this merged Council is to function properly. What a shame the three Councils merged, as the process has taken a backward step with massive increases in expenses, and lack of community trust.

  • Sage advice David, but who’s listening at Council?

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