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A Friday Note - 27 February 2015

CONNECT - Message from the Chief Executive


Many of you would be aware of a tragic fatality on Currie St Tuesday morning.  The elderly gentleman who lost his life was the grandfather of one of our employees.  Our sympathies are with this family.


As CEO I see lots of moving parts in the department.  Some where issues are managed across divisions, others where that is not the case.  Often I see a need to step in to communicate what is happening when I would prefer a different operating system. People say communication is the key and it is the one thing we complain about when we don't know what is happening or what is planned.

I see great things happening in the executive committee meetings, portfolio management committees, railway and highway commissioner meetings, meetings with Ministers and other CEOs and industry and of course daily engagement with our people.   I can and will publish the minutes but they just don’t capture the commitment and passion: Julie Holmes and Paula Norman on safety, Paul Gelston on serving the community, Luigi with his passion for everything…. you get the idea.

How do I share this experience with all our staff and get them involved?  Part of it is flattening structures and reducing the layers, but it is still a challenge. The executive is now a much smaller group.  The real grunt comes from the greater number of employees from base grade to high level policy.  I have been staggered by the sense of commitment and great ideas. Safety, rail, road, property, construction, planning, local government, communications….  Suggestions welcome.

The good news is that the confidential email communications between me and individual staff is really enlivening.  I appreciate every aspect of your feedback.   For example, some letters are incredibly supportive of the rejuvenation process and some of the individual responses to my letters about rec leave have been absolutely fantastic.  Others have issues needing to be addressed.

Of course we have a big task ahead of us in doing more with less. We can do this.  Values and expectations sound simple but I want us to be the best public service agency.


Employees have been asking what the end goal for the departmental rejuvenation is. For me, a successful transition will see integrated services focussed on the community with the economy benefiting as a result.

To update you on the transition process, we have been concentrating on getting Chief Officers and General Managers in place and are now ready to proceed with formalising the longer term appointments to the remaining leadership roles. The Manager roles (those reporting directly to General Managers) are to be advertised next week.

There have been a number of questions surrounding the Expression of Interest for Targeted Voluntary Separation Packages (TVSPs). General Managers and Managers are continuing to work through our future workforce needs and will be in a position shortly to make a call on registrations. The expression of interest process will remain open throughout the transition.

Please continue to provide your feedback on the departmental rejuvenation directly to the acting General Managers or Managers. You are also welcome to provide feedback to myself and the Transition Team. Your feedback is shaping our organisation and the way we structure ourselves to best meet the needs and expectations of the community.

In addition to the leadership team, a reminder that Optum, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), is available to support employees (those paid by the department directly) including in times of change. The EAP is a service contracted by the department (at no cost to the employee) and offers a confidential and professional counselling service that assists in ensuring a safe and healthy working environment. 

The EAP has also been engaged to offer resume writing services to employees (those paid by the department directly).  As we move through the transition and with reference to the transition principles some employees may be subject to recruitment processes and will require an up to date resume.  Now is an opportune time to use the resume writing service contracted by the department (at no cost to the employee).  Employees can access the service by calling 1300 361 008.


Nicole Jones is heading off to greener pastures, turning to community engagement for the O-Bahn under Sam Rodrigues after three years of serving departmental CEOs.  Thanks for loyal and dedicated service.  Martha Barlas will now join the office having worked with the recently retired Tony Cauchi for many years.


The Premier and Minister Mullighan launched the new O-Bahn proposal this week.  There have been a lot of people involved.  The good news is that this project has been subjected to a much more detailed and collaborative approach with clear definition of the problems,  options and analysis and a couple of different ideas boosted by private sector ideas.  Having mystery O-Bahn customers in our internal discussions has also worked well.


In the past week senior staff have responded to queries from people who rang in with Govchat.  Those inquires will assist in our work on Operation Moving traffic which will report soon on options for improving our road and public transport systems:  bus timetables, train services (with the Seaford line requiring detailed attention currently underway) and of course our road network.


Barry Henningsen - the longest serving State Government employee and one of the longest serving government employees in the country - retires today after 58 years of dedicated service to the department. Barry has continued to work tirelessly and with  pride up until only a few months ago when he became ill.  Am amazing feat in a time when very few people  will choose to stay in one job for their whole career, let alone almost 60 years!! Barry’s journey started in  May of 1956, when as a 15 year old lad, straight out of school, he started work as an apprentice plumber with the then Department of Architects in Chiefs, at Keswick. Over the years, Barry has worked extremely hard in his role as an apprentice, tradesman, leading hand and finally in his latest position as a facilities manager at Netley. We wish Barry all the best.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Deegan