Mayor defends worker ratio of 'staff-heavy' council

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council is the most staff-heavy council in south-east Queensland, figures reveal.

For every council worker in the region there are about 106 residents.

That compares to 1:153 in Brisbane, 1:183 in Ipswich and 1:121 in the Lockyer Valley.

Figures also show that the council has the highest proportion of its budget dedicated to staff at 38.98 per cent, but the average cost per employee at $71,713 is the lowest in south-east Queensland.

However for Mayor Paul Antonio, it's like comparing apples with oranges.

"I consider it almost impossible to make meaningful comparisons between Queensland local governments at this level," he said.

"By their very nature, Queensland councils offer vastly different levels of service to the communities they serve, which is as different and diverse as Queensland itself."

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Cr Antonio said in the case of Toowoomba Regional Council, it employed 206 workers to operate water and waste water, unlike most other councils that had those areas taken over by the State Government several years ago.

"Our staff numbers are also reflective of the fact that we manage and maintain the second longest road network in the state," he said.

Cr Antonio said that council had its staffing numbers about right, taking into account the large variety of products and services provided.

He said council was unlikely to grow its overall staff numbers in the immediate future.

Toowoomba Regional Council is the most staff-heavy council in south-east Queensland with one worker for every 106 residents. Do you think council's staff is too large? http://ow.ly/QoCFY

Posted by The Chronicle on Sunday, 2 August 2015

However he said as the region continued to benefit from massive infrastructure investment there could be a need for council to respond accordingly as opportunities arose.

"I'd be interested to know if other councils also took the approach of this council by wanting to spend less on outsourcing its services through the use of external consultants and contractors, balanced with maintaining cost effective in-house employees," Cr Antonio said.

IS TOOWOOMBA REGIONAL COUNCIL OVERSTAFFED?

Ray Wells: Jobs, jobs we need jobs. At least these people have something. Leave them alone.

Katrina Lumley-Thompson: There might be plenty of staff, but you still can't get anything done. If you ask a question to two different people you can guarantee to get two different answers.

Terrence Richardson: That's a lot of people. I know we have a large council area, is every job justified?

Brigit Green: I wonder what the ratio is between upper management and the "man on the ground".

Hln Fitch: No these people need jobs, should be more.

Paula Knight: All well and good as long as work is getting done on time and on budget.

A BREAKDOWN OF THE NUMBERS

CEO Department: 25

Environment and Community Services: 395

Finance and Business Strategy: 242

Infrastructure Services: 520

Planning and Development: 113

Water and Waste Services (includes waste water and solid waste): 240

Total workforce at June 2015: 1535



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