Concerns Raised over Consultants; President Calls on Council to Draw on Staff Expertise to Rein in Costs

Article excerpt

Byline: SHANNON NEWLEY

RATES could be significantly reduced if council used fewer outside consultants, Warwick Chamber of Commerce president David Littleproud said.

He said with the amount of money the Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) was paying in wages, there should be a level of expertise within staff to keep the work in-house.

C[pounds sterling]It was reported on Friday's Daily News front page that the average wage of all council workers is $50,000 a year,C[yen] Mr Littleproud said.

C[pounds sterling]Surely with that level of remuneration we could save some money and not have to spend on high-priced consultations.C[yen]

Mayor Ron Bellingham agreed it was frustrating when outside consultants were used and their work was inadequate but said Mr Littleproud's comments were simplistic.

C[pounds sterling]When an inappropriate report comes through, I am always prepared to voice my dissatisfaction to the staff and would expect that the consultants responsible wouldn't have much of an opportunity to do work for council again,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]I did have some concerns about the ever-increasing practice of bringing them in, which started before my time, but a lot of areas are now so complex, and that's a concern in itself, council has no choice.

C[pounds sterling]Generally speaking consultants are brought in for their level of expertise in specific areas.C[yen]

He said even in the highly skilled areas such as engineering, council officers had knowledge in specific areas of the industry and couldn't always advise on every project.

He said the consultants were coming in at a significant cost but a balance had to be achieved. …