COMMISSIONER, DON’T SPEND OUR $$$ LEASING SHOP AT CAROUSEL!

STOP NOW! Originator of image: Vitor Leite. Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Radio 6PR’s “Rumour File” tipped us off that the City of Canning was planning to lease a shop at Carousel to use as offices for staff.

Rustling up what contacts we could on a Sunday, given Carousel’s market dominance, ratepayers could be forced to pay anywhere between $120,000 – $250,000 per year, not including fit out costs and operating budget for the office.

According to CEO Lyn Russell:

“The City is going to lease at Carousel for an initial period of 2 years.  It will be to house a small team of staff who will be working predominantly on the new Canning City Centre project.  

Firstly the City of Canning has no other office space available in the Civic Administration building and secondly this will enable the team working on the City Centre Project to be located within that precinct.

It will also enable ease of engagement with local businesses, commercial developers and aid the team to closely monitor the place activation strategies soon to be launched.”*

How much more of our money is going to be drained away accommodating staff one way or another?

We’ve been forced to pay
13.25% pay rises for staff.
Those on 120K at 1 Jan ’14 will be on 137K by 1 Jul ’15.

We had no choice but to pay
for $1000 “TAFE” training vouchers for all.
The deal is in the All Staff Enterprise Agreement – we have 1,174 staff.

We were told it was “critical”
to pay $750,000 for a new IT system at Canning, despite 2400 residents declaring their satisfaction with services in Fight for Canning.

SO LET’S DO A REALITY CHECK ON THE “SHOP” AT CAROUSEL:

  • Employee costs have exploded under the Commissioner – now we can’t fit them in to existing offices?
  • City offices only several hundred metres down from Carousel – would it kill staff to walk there instead?
  • The new office will house public servants, not wheelers and dealers in the property market.  Councils can guide, approve and reject developments to some degree, but they can’t control the outcome.
  • The Canning City Centre plan is just that – a plan – actual development will occur over 10-15 years.
  • This “initiative” will presumably be rushed through Council, before the announcements on local govt reform come out.  Its not like the ratepayers will get a say either way.

As for “place making” – it’s about “pop up” shops and town squares.  Nice to have but not necessary.  Its virtual reality, and we certainly don’t need to fly interstate consultants in, or hire place activating staff for projects that will go POOF! when the money runs out…..

The rationalisations provided to lease this shop are simply not strong enough to justify the money it will cost.

Update: Apart from the role Commissioner Reynolds and CEO Lyn Russell play in this very expensive exercise, the two Directors cc’d in to the email below were former A/CEO Andrew Sharpe, and Mike Mouritz.

No matter how much the City talks this up, the reality is this is a very, very expensive way to house a group of public servants at the end of the day.

*Extracted, and edited for length, from incomplete communication between CanningAccountability and City of Canning CEO Lyn Russell, initiated 22 August 2014.

 

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