Staff Morale hits a new Low.

Signe Westerberg Headshots (38 of 102)I’ve been attending Council meetings in Liverpool for a long while now, I pride myself in having attended them all. I’ve watched and noted when Councillors bullied the General Manager, then their own anointed CEO, I’ve stood along side the staff when they stood up for the former. I’ve listened to the never ending political posturing of the local Liberals, the never ending self promotion and tonight wasn’t really that much different. The politicking wasn’t on show, and probably good as the Liberals won’t be seeing any votes from council staff for a LONG WHILE if you heard what they were saying when the left. Tonight they were sold up the river or to a private organisation/management firm who will now have care and control over their futures. While a few provisions were installed, like no forced terminations, nothing was mentioned about their rates of pay nor their security of promotional opportunities  in the long term.

One will say we in the gallery don’t have all the facts and thats true, LCC again stood behind commercial in confidence. The some councillors took their turn singing the praise of the council staff and rightly so, we have a good,caring and dedicated staff. Again though talk is cheap, as while the Liberal councillors sang their praise the decision seemed to be preordained. Cllr Waller offered a reasonable suggestion of holding off on the decision until more information and consultation. But no, not on this occasion, this decision seemed well decided. I really don’t understand why the decision was so urgent, why we in fact need some other organisation to manage our staff. Why can’t the CEO do his job and delegate to his super management team the management of their staff. I can believe his inability to manage the staff,  we all have limits, but why would we be  paying for another organisation to manage our staff, and while our executives aren’t managing the staff what will they be doing? These seem like silly questions but isn’t the job of the management staff to manage?

Watching 200 or so of our staff leave knowing they had been sold up the river by the Liberal and Independent councillors must be a real kick in the teeth. The pretence that the mayor and one councillor in particular met with them and listened must be distressing… and more important that the 7 of them couldn’t see a reason to hold off for a few weeks to ensure everyones view had been heard and addressed while the Labor minority did as they do and oppose without any real chance of slowing a process that like many times before seems to have been pre-decided (Of course that doesn’t happen) While I acknowledge and understand that the management of staff is not one of those things the community gets to involve with, these are our staff, they work in all manner of areas, directly with ratepayers and behind the scenes as outside staff, we owe them the respect of getting their views and needs listened to.

Now, let me pose these questions, bearing in mind no details have been released and unlikely will.

If this is going to be a cost saving measure and no one is going to lose their jobs, and the management team will no doubt need to be paid in some way which of the executives are going to lose their jobs to pay for it? (The CEO perhaps)

If a new CEO is appointed in the future, but in less than the 10 years of the contract, and he/she wants to terminate the agreement, how much is the buy out fee, how much will it cost us? (lets face it if they -the management firm-  are any good they would have that factored into the agreement)

If again no one is losing their job and it’s going to cost less, will the rates of pay be changed and will it be insufficient enough to have our staff quit, avoiding the sacking aspect but achieving a similar result?

Who is going to pay for professional development? Who will ensure our staff continue to grow and create better outcomes for our community?

If one of our problems is out of date and unviable working infrastructure and equipment, why couldn’t we have upgraded the necessary processes and saved ourselves the enormous heartache, we see our staff experiencing now? Could it be that the previous CEO was insufficient in his abilities and failed to keep up with the necessary equipment or the present one think it all a bit to hard etc.

What chance does a staff member now have to grow their career?

At what level does the Staff management stop and the executive (the only ones left to answer to the CEO) become redundant and not need to be employed?


Will there be reprisals for staff who stood up tonight and protested ? Boy I hope not.

Why are there people from previous councils sending warnings? Staff where this CEO previously worked. (refer back to a comment I received when Mr Wulff was employed)

This I believe is just the tip of the iceberg of questions that will arise in coming days. I recall when this CEO first sat in the seat his comment that he had never dealt with in confidence matters before, when tonight no less than 7 were held to the end of the meeting. Seems he got used to them quickly enough. I’m not naive I understand that people deserve privacy, but do corporations need to be so vehemently protected and from what, this is our rates money, are we not entitled to see how and where it is spent?

This is unlikely the last we will hear of this, but another thing on the agenda tonight was the announcement that the new budget it to be put on exhibition… please watch out for it, this is your opportunity to speak up, suggest areas in which you’d like your rates money spent etc and as a rate payer you are entitled to make comment, offer suggestions and create the future Liverpool you want to live in. but its only on exhibition for 28 days, so don’t miss out.


Its late and I really need to absorb all i heard tonight. To our staff I send my best and hope that if there is anything I can do to alleviate their distress, I will be doing it.

Watch this space… there is an election in 4 days, let this be a reminder of what happens when the Liberals feel they have carte blanch. Seriously change is needed, talk is cheap and we deserve better. Perhaps you should remember that on March 28.

More when I know more… if you have answers to the questions above, please don’t hesitate to email me, I am more than happy to add view and opinions other than mine and I really do think there is a lot more we should know. I am not a lover of secrecy but it seems there is too much we don’t know.


Sign off


3 Responses to Staff Morale hits a new Low.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I work for Liverpool Council BUT I’m also a rate payer. I totally agree with the views you expressed here with regards to Council’s plan to outsource staff management. I also don’t understand it and so do many of my colleagues. I keep thinking, what’s the point of staff going through professional and personal development if in the end we will be managed by outsiders who know nothing about our office culture? What’s wrong with us, staff? We have a CEO who has not been long in the job who thinks that we are not good enough and that management is not good enough to manage us, hence, an outsider!!! I think it’s time that we get residents involved in this campaign against selling Liverpool to a private organisation. Aren’t we supposed to have quotes from three vendors/suppliers before one is chosen?

    Questions, questions, questions.
    Name given but withheld

  2. Aaron says:

    As a rate payer this is terrible to read.But should we be that surprised? Anyone who looked up the CEO prior to his appointment knew what he was all about and the sort of havoc he leaves every where he works.

    Perhaps alot of the blame can be laid on Mayor mannoun and the councilors who appointed the ceo in first place.According to this mayoral minute below we still have a couple more years left of his tenure according to his contract. Also note in the link the confidential remuneration package he was given.

    Please google

    Minutes of the Extraordinary Council Meeting held on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 and confirmed on Wednesday, 25 June 2014

    • Signe says:

      Sadly not surprised at all… I did the same when he was appointed …google can be your friend. However I’m not feeling good about this now, I feel for our staff, they are good hard working people and they are feeling pressured and threatened. It is as they say get what you vote for, glad I don’t vote that way I have no sense of dread

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