GM unveils experienced leadership team to transform the City of Wagga Wagga

Published: 15 Dec 2016 9:31am

City of Wagga Wagga General Manager Alan Eldridge believes the organisation’s new leadership team has the experience and ability to help build one of the best regional cities in Australia.

With a combination of local knowledge and new ideas, the four Sector Managers and the General Manager will be working to deliver services for more than 63,000 residents across a Local Government Area of 4825sqm.

The new structure was adopted by Council in July and took effect in October when the five Directorates and General Manager’s section were overhauled and replaced with four new Sectors – Governance, Community, Financial and Commercial.

Following an extensive recruitment process for new and vacant positions, the Sector Managers have now joined the organisation along with a number of other key management positions.

Leading the Sectors are newly appointed Chief Financial Officer Natalie Te Pohe and Commercial Development Sector Manager Paul Somerville, and existing staff Community Sector Manager Janice Summerhayes (formerly Director Environment and Community Services) and Commercial Operations Sector Manager Caroline Angel (formerly Manager – Project Management Office).

"To build the best regional city, you need the best people and I am confident the team we have assembled will lead Wagga into future," Mr Eldridge said.

"Janice Summerhayes has decades of invaluable experience working for and with the local community and Caroline Angel has extensive experience at various levels of government and has implemented a number of significant changes including the establishment of Council’s new Project Management Office.

"Natalie Te Pohe has worked in Western Australian Councils, the Queensland Mining Industry and the South Australian Government, while Paul Somerville holds both a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Melbourne University and an MBA from Monash University and has worked for large companies such as BHP Steel.

"The new structure takes a more collaborative approach to our operations than the previous Directorate model. It’s also less bureaucratic and makes accountability and planning a priority across Council."

Mr Eldridge said there have been a number of challenges for Council over the past year and his focus has been on rectifying historic issues and creating a path for the future direction of the organisation.

"Change is necessary to ensure we serve our community in the best possible way," Mr Eldridge said.

"That change is now well under way, not only with our organisational structure, but with other future-building initiatives such as the planning taskforce, Wagga Wagga Integrated Transport Strategy, the Community Strategic Plan ‘Wagga View’ and major projects like the Bomen Enabling Roads."

Along with the Sector Managers, other senior staff who have recently joined Council as part of the new structure are Manager Audit, Risk & Governance Ingrid Hensley, Manager Project Operations Shannon Postma and Airport Facility Manager Leon Burger. Tristan Kell will take up the role of Manager City Strategy early in the new year along with Manager People and Culture Nicole Lofts.

Former Acting Director Commercial and Economic Development James Bolton and

Director Corporate Service Craig Richardson will stay with Council in the short term to work on special projects such as the proposed Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub (RiFL) and elements of the planning taskforce.

Council has recently engaged a recruitment specialist for the vacant Manager Operations and Manager City Development positions.  

Please see below for information on Sectors, senior staff and the restructure process

City of Wagga Wagga organisational structure

Governance Sector

  • Led by: General Manager Alan Eldridge
  • Key areas: Audit, Risk and Governance; Marketing and Communications; Executive Support; People and Culture; Riverina Regional Library
  • Focused on: Ensuring organisational accountability; providing a sound governance framework; providing support to the General Manager, Mayor and Councillors; ongoing development of our staff to ensure the delivery of efficient and effective services

Community Sector

  • Led by: Community Sector Manager Janice Summerhayes
  • Key areas: Community Services; Cultural facilities and public programs; Events; Visitor Economy; Environment; City Compliance
  • Focused on: Social and community benefits; building community capacity; community related front line delivery of Council services; engaging with community to support social infrastructure; providing support, services and educating the community

Commercial Sector

  • Led by: Commercial Operations Sector Manager Caroline Angel and Commercial Development Sector Manager Paul Somerville
  • Key areas: Operations; Project Management Office; City Development; Council Businesses
  • Focused on: Operating with a business approach ie competitive with industry and the market; an integrated approach to facilitate maintenance, growth and development of city; integrating utilisation of plant, resources and assets; building business partnerships

Financial Sector

  • Led by: Chief Financial Officer Natalie Te Pohe
  • Key areas: Finance; Procurement; City Strategy; Information and Customer Service
  • Focused on: Integrating financial accountability and planning across the organisation; integrating finance into our service delivery; internal financial controls and services

Sector Manager profiles

Natalie Te Pohe – Chief Financial Officer

  • Holds a Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of South Australia and has completed the CPA Program
  • Has held positions in Western Australian Councils, the Queensland Mining Industry and the South Australian Government

Paul Somerville – Commercial Development Sector Manager

  • Holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Melbourne University and an MBA from Monash University
  • Has held positions in Victorian councils and large multinational companies

Caroline Angel – Commercial Operations Sector Manager

  • Completed studies in the area of Business and Management and Leadership Program through Mt Eliza Business School, University of Melbourne
  • Extensive experience in Federal and State Government Departments as well as the private sector within the areas of project management and Diplomatic Services
  • Has held senior positions within Australia and overseas

Janice Summerhayes – Community Sector Manager

  • Holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Charles Sturt University.
  • Held positions across State Government, community-based organisations and 20 years’ experience in Local Government

Other senior management appointments:

  • Ingrid Hensley - Manager Audit, Risk & Governance: Bachelor of Arts (Communication) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Technology (Sydney), previous experience in Victorian Councils, as a practising solicitor, Family Court of Australia (Sydney) and the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department
  • Shannon Postma - Manager Project Operations: Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Queensland University of Technology and an MBA from University of Western Australia, senior management experience with national and international companies and service with the Royal Australian Army
  • Leon Burger - Airport Facility Manager: Senior management and aviation qualifications, previous experience with Western Australian airports coupled with project and asset management experience.
  • Tristan Kell - Manager City Strategy: Has more than nine years’ experience working in urban and regional planning, strategy and urban design across both the public and private sectors, specialising in statutory planning, strategic planning and project management.
  • Nicole Lofts - Manager People and Culture: Qualifications and an extensive background in human resource management in the private sector, predominately in the manufacturing industry. Has previously been a key member in senior management teams.

Aims of the new organisational structure

  • Ensure we are Fit for the Future while also allowing us to meet the needs of our community
  • Align like services and functions
  • Balance our legislative requirements with community needs and service delivery
  • Place greater emphasis on financial accountability and integration across all services
  • Adopt a more streamlined approach to projects, design, engineering, planning and service delivery
  • Support a framework of learning
  • Provide the opportunity for a more flexible and multi-skilled workforce

New organisational structure timeline

  • New structure approved at July Ordinary Council Meeting
  • New structure came into effect 3 October
  • Recruitment for new and other positions began mid-October
  • Sector Managers and majority of other senior staff joined City of Wagga Wagga in late November/early December