Staff in district office greatly depleted since town council changes
There was harsh criticism of the fact that Bray Municipal District has been left low in staff levels.
The matter emerged at last Tuesday evening’s monthly meeting as Cllr Brendan Thornhill asked about a liaison scheme between residents of Oldcourt and the council. Administrative Officer Triona Irving said that due to staffing in Bray Municipal District it is not feasible for the estate development officer to be in estates as much as he would like to be.
Because the district is short on rent collectors, the development officer is partly filling in that role. ‘Another staff member retired last week,’ she said. The housing department now includes Ms Irving, one clerical officer and the estate development officer in administration.
Until such time as they get other staff, they can’t do more work than they are doing. ‘Ideally there would be reports from estate liaison but that is not possible,’ she said.
Cllr Pat Vance said that the staff situation is scandalous. ‘It’s scandalous how we are being treated by Wicklow County Council,’ he said. ‘Really and truly. The staff are doing a fantastic job under pressure. They are down to less than half.
‘ This was supposed to be better local government giving better service. We can’t go on anymore with this. We have to get way more staff. As a body maybe for once the councillors around this table could all agree that this situation has to be tackled in Bray and the district. Cllr Joe Behan said that Bray is the least of Wicklow County Council’s priorities, at senior management level. ‘We’re down to an almost impossible level of staff. Perhaps that’s the agenda. They probably wanted the housing department for the entire county to be in Wicklow. Members of the previous council fought for it to remain, but we’re not going to get the staff to make it possible to maintain here. I want to see serious action from the Chief Executive to see to it that if a person retires they are replaced immediately.’
He said that similarly, in relation to staffing, a traffic warden for schools at Schools Road has not been replaced since last September. ‘Wicklow County Council have had this knowledge for months and done nothing about replacing that staff member,’ he said. ‘Senior management are completely and utterly ignoring the needs of the people,’ he said. Cllr John Ryan said that the new system of local government is a ‘ load of rubbish’. He called for Bray Town Council to be resurrected and brought back. ‘It’s plainly and simply not working, it’s taking forever to do anything,’ said Cllr Ryan, adding that the eight councillors must unify together and go to the CEO.
Cllr Steven Matthews said that they have been depleted of staff since the local government amendment. ‘It’s definitely not working,’ he said.
He said that he is waiting for the county manager to come back to him and wants to organise a meeting for the district councillors.
Cllr Matthews said that Minister Coveny was to do a mid term review but that as far as he was aware, no review was being done.
‘We pay all the property tax and all the services have gone down,’ said Cllr John Ryan. Cllr Matthews said he will continue to ask the officials to come to Bray for workshops.