Merger pays off for some
TRYING to get people doing the same jobs on the same pay scales was one of the first challenges new councillor Dave Batt faced after the amalgamation of the four councils.
“Every shire had different enterprise bargaining agreements and people were being paid different rates, and it took a lot of negotiation,” he said.
“People doing a job in one shire were being paid less than people doing the same job in another shire, and naturally everybody wanted the higher rate.”
Cr Batt said the council, which employed more than 800 staff, was the biggest employer in the region, and smoothing out the pay scales cost an extra $1 million in wages.
The council also had to put an organisational structure in place, with position descriptions for every staff member.
Cr Batt’s portfolio is governance, which he said covered areas such as internal policy and procedures, human resources, workplace health and safety and IT.
He also had an interest in indigenous issues and disaster management.
“It’s all intense, but it’s been a good grounding in what a local government does,” he said.
Born and raised in Bundaberg, Cr Batt went to school in the city before joining the police.
He spent 20 years as a police officer, including 12 years in the CIB and two years in charge of the PCYC, rising to the rank of sergeant.
Cr Batt said he still served part-time as a police officer, “squeezing in a shift when I can”, to protect his seniority.
Challenges that lay ahead for the council included finding new ways to fund essential infrastructure for the city.
“Everybody would like an indoor entertainment centre, for instance, but if they want it ratepayers have to realise they’re the ones who are going to pay for it,” he said.
Rating his performance out of 10, Cr Batt said he would give himself an eight, although there was still room for improvement.
He gave the council an eight too and, though there was always room to be better, it was still finding new ways of doing things.