Dungog Shire Council’s general manager Craig Deasey has voiced his concerns in council’s ability to fulfil their obligations in meeting the requirements of various legislative responsibilities. Commenting on the quarterly report for the period ending March 31, Mr Deasey said backlogs within the organisation as a consequence of staffing levels is a major concern. Mr Deasey said council’s ability to meet the requirements under the integrated planning and reporting framework relating to the development of the resourcing strategy is problematic particularly in relation to the development of the asset management plans. He doesn’t believe council will achieve the completion of a satisfactory resourcing strategy prior to June 30. “Without comprehensive asset information and the development of asset management plans, the development of a 10-year financial plan that is robust enough to support decision making through scenario analysis in terms of service delivery is not achievable,” he said. “Council simply does not have the staffing levels to achieve the desired outcomes, and to be quite frank I can’t push the staff any harder than they are working now, with a number of them working excess hours and deferring leave. “These matters alone can give rise to more serious issues within the workforce.” With ongoing budgetary constraints Mr Deasey reported that continuing wet weather is also giving rise to escalating maintenance costs associated with the sealed road network and staff may need to re-allocate funds from Financial Assistance Grant funds to accommodate this situation. “Initially staff were considering the deferral of the reseal program however it is my view that it is far more important to continue the renewal of infrastructure and defer a capital project to accommodate the current circumstances,” he said. “Needless to say the budget in rural sealed roads maintenance is being closely monitored. “Finances are very tight and whilst the budget deficit for this year has been revised down to $34,000 with a forecast budget deficit of $196,000 projected for 2012/2013 we will be facing another year where the capacity of the council is limited. “And at the end of the day it is taking its toll on a number of staff.”
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