Griffith City Council
When Griffith City Council General Manager Brett Stonestreet first started out in local government 41 years ago, his boss said to him, “Local government is not all beer and skittles, but if you want to make a difference in the community then you’re in the right spot.” Those are words that have rung true throughout his career, he tells The CEO Magazine.
And what a difference he has made. Griffith is a town on the up, praised by respected commentator Bernard Salt for its livability. It is certainly an incredibly cosmopolitan centre, with its population of 26,000 made up of more than 70 nationalities. With an exciting wave of infrastructure projects, a new air link and a burst of entrepreneurship, Griffith looks set for great things.
When Brett moved to Griffith from Port Fairy on the west coast of Victoria 10 years ago, it was a slightly different story. The restructure of the water industry in the Murray–Darling basin had sent shock waves through the community, shattering confidence. The Council was not in great shape either, with financial sustainability a big issue. “Our cash position was on the decline,” he says. “That couldn’t go on, otherwise we would end up not being able to deliver services for our community.”
Cue an organisational restructure which saw 20 positions made redundant, but saved in excess of A$2 million a year in operational expenditure. It addressed the high overtime bill, employee leave build-up, hefty power bills and an overly large workers compensation bill.
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