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Thread: Best Council to work for?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Sydney
    Posts
    20

    Best Council to work for?

    1) I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on who they think would be the best council to work for and why?

    Which council do you think offers the:
    Biggest challenges
    Best people to work with
    Best community
    Ability to develop and progress
    Best conditions
    Most powerful
    Most prestigious


    2) which would be the worst council to work for.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Syndey, Australia
    Posts
    130
    Councils are a great way to start your planning career. The problem is career progression. To go from planner to senior planner you basically have to wait until a position is open. In which the bureaucratic process allows outside applicants to apply.

    Unfortunately the community doesnt understand planning, and whether u work in a wealthy council area or poor one, the community doesnt like you.

    Mosman council the GM and the community constantly harass DA planners and push their own agendas for mediocre pay at best.

    Western Sydney councils you will get a lot of struggling home buyers ask you to "bend" the rules in order for their DA to get through quickly and without any problems.

    The problems lies with the NSW government. The Dept of Planning in NSW is a mess and Labour pushes their own agenda. Council planners are expected to do the Dept of Planning's job at a fraction of the pay they make. Its funny once someone goes from Senior Planner/Principal Planner to Management in COuncil. They push the other planners in order for them to reach their performance targets and truly forget where they come from.

    I would say Camden Council is good. They are one of the few Councils that give a performance bonus. They have figured out the money they spend on consultants could be better used to provide motivation for their staff. The funny thing with Councils in NSW is they offer 9 day fortnights, which is good in theory, but most Council planners are so busy that management looks down on them when they take it.

    Councils in NSW also spend THOUSANDS advertising positions that will never be filled. The whole system needs to change as the pay rates cant even keep pace with the CPI. Teachers in NSW complain when their pay doesnt make the CPI and these people get 14 weeks off per year.

    As stated before Councils are great for young planners to start and develop a career. You also gain negotiation skills and dealing with the angry general public, developers and uneducated councillors.

    The problem with councils is that the pay and conditions dont really change. PIA's inquiry in to planning supports this and the whole system needs revamping. I strongly believe NSW councils should amalgamate like they do in Queensland. Too many little councils with no money.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Sydney
    Posts
    20
    Do you know what the trigger is for a performance bonus at Camden Council?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Syndey, Australia
    Posts
    130
    Probably the fact that the further you get away from Sydney in NSW the harder it is to fill the positions. Councils waste SO MUCH $$ on hiring, advertising and engaging consultants. They would be better off paying a recruiter's fee, much like Queenland and Victoria do with Hays.

    The Local Government Skills shortage survey proved Councils have a hard time filling Engineering and Planning roles. Logic would say that these occupations should be paying much more than other postions at council. This is not true.

    Camden is the first council to realise this. They got tired of hiring planners and 6 months down the line losing them to the private sector or overseas. Each time you see one of those regular sized ads in the Tuesday SMH they cost around 10k. Councils have no problem wasting money on these and other bigger ads for planners and engineers for low pay. They dont get any qualified applicants and RE-advertise the postion for the same low figures. THen they complain they dont have any money? Go figure

    The Rudd government is finally giving Councils money. Whether they choose to spend the $$ is their choice. Working in local government you realise how many pointless positions there are in a Council, and some of them pay well. Each pointless branch of local government also has a team leader (80k plus) and a manager (105-120k), Then they complain to PIA they cant keep any planners?

    Councils are good for recent grads and learning the planning system if you are new to the area. But the bottom line is unless your managment there is no incentive to stay their, unless you have kids and want to work a few days a week or really enjoy 9 day fortnights.

    Regional councils complain they cant attract planners or engineers, but offer no incentives to move to the middle of nowhere.

    Planners need to be more like the teachers union and demand fair wages. The problem with planning is there is NO SET guidelines in Australia and PIA doesnt even feature a salary survey. Brisbane's Courier Mail did an article about this back in October (its on the PIA website under news). Half the problem is Uni students dont wanna study planning because of there is no indication of salary level or career guidance.

    On the other hand, the NSW Department of Planning pays pretty good and they still have high turnover. When I worked in a council I spoke to someone new each month at the Dept of Planning. NSW planning will always be a mystery to me, but at the same time I love Sydney.

    Kudos to WA and Queensland for much higher standards in their planning. Hopefully one day NSW will be like you. I blame Labour.

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