Transition manager delay
A TRANSITION manager for the new Douglas Shire Council will not start until at least the start of April.
The role of the transition manager will be to implement regulations to safeguard both the existing and new councils.
Douglas residents voted to deamalgamate from Cairns Regional Council at last Saturday’s referendum and now the region will have to wait until a transition manager is appointed before the process can begin.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said applications were called yesterday for the position, which will develop the structure and mechanics of the new council ready for operation on January 1, 2014.
‘‘I want that person to be some- one who doesn’t have connections with CRC, I think that’s important, likewise they shouldn’t be someone from the proponents, someone who understand finance and local government,’’ he said.
‘‘ As far as the amalgamated council is concerned it’s business as usual for the balance of the year, they have to operate and provide a service and your councillor will continue to represent your area.
‘‘I hope for the average ratepayer that all the services they get at the moment, the bins, libraries and pot holes being filled, will be business as usual until January when their own council begins.’’
Minister Crisafulli dismissed concerns the transition manager not starting until next month would give Cairns a headstart in the carve-up of council assets and budget decisions.
‘‘Processes will be put in place to safeguard the interests of both the new council and existing regional council,’’ Minister Crisafulli said.
‘‘Those processes will be outlined in changes to the Local Government Regulations, which will be released in early April.’’
Part of these regulations will include transitionary provisions, similar to what the former Douglas Shire Council had, including prohibiting major policy decisions unless ministerial approval was granted.
The transition manager will be hiring staff for the new council, with flexibility for the new council to hire more, and a transition committee will be formed.
Until these regulations are in place, Division 10 Councillor Julia Leu said she will be working to keep both processes transparent - the formation of the new council and upcoming budget process of CRC.
‘‘I will be watching to make sure that issues and items to do with Douglas are treated in the same manner as if we were not deamalgamating,’’ she said.
‘‘It is also critical that we get a fair deal in the upcoming CRC budget as we are still paying our fair share of rates, fees and charges until the end of the year.’’
Cr Leu said she welcomes an independent transition manager who will be impartial during the process of splitting the assets and liabilities of CRC.
‘‘ The process must be open, transparent and fair so everyone can have full trust in the outcome, as well as minimising the possibility of any lingering animosity between the councils and their communities,’’ she said.
WHATS YOUR VOTE: yes from Robert White (above) and no from Bill Phillips Turner (below)