Dear Beagle Editor, In recent months we have looked over our northern border and noticed that there are parallels in the management and cases of mismanagement within our councils. With the recent improvements to your Moruya airport via Federal funding and with your councillors and staff celebrating the improvements your readers might be interested in what is happening on our side of the fence between REX airlines and Bega Valley Shire Council. crash landings … It’s hard to believe that it was only six weeks ago that the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) was publicly & positively acknowledging the action of Mayor Kristy McBain for stepping-up & apologising to Rex Holdings for council’s latest mismanagement of its relationship with this vital air transport service provider to the region. The source of the sudden collapse in the relationship was the inclusion by Bega valley Shire Council (BVSC) of a significant increase in the Merimbula airport ‘head tax’ in its draft 2017/2018 Budget, without any prior consultation with Rex. Notwithstanding Cr McBain’s valiant effort to explain-away this major failure by council management as a ‘misunderstanding’, the problem was resolved & everyone became friends again when Cr McBain publicly confirmed on June 16th, 2017 that there would be no increase in the head tax in 2017/2018. Luckily for Cr McBain, her decision was subsequently endorsed by a resolution of council on June 28th, 2017, leaving the way open for council & Rex to get-on with the job of negotiating & agreeing an expansion of services in support of the region, with the Rex proposal in that regard intended to be put before council at that same meeting. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as obviously council had a very full agenda to get through ahead of its mid-term ‘break’. As the next council meeting was not due until August 9th, 2017 (only a month before the additional Rex services were to commence), this meant that the Rex proposal would have to swing in the breeze until then. So, it was more than an unpleasant surprise when Rex received an email from Cr McBain on July 27th, 2017, confirming that council might have to reconsider its previous commitment in respect of increases in the head tax, even though that was contrary to council’s June 28th resolution. Naturally Rex were less than happy with yet another demonstration by council of its ‘on again, off again’ management style & today wrote to council formally confirming that the board of Rex Holdings had decided to cancel the company’s plans to expand its services to the region. In its earlier comments on council’s failure to effectively deal with Rex, the BVSRRA observed that council had time & time again demonstrated that it lacked a critical management capability: the capability to effectively manage relationships with key strategic partners. BVSC continues to demonstrate a lack of competence in such issues, notwithstanding any complications unnecessarily occasioned by Cr McBain once again embroiling herself in operational matters, even though she clearly lacks the requisite skills to add any value. Yet another crash landing by council. John Richardson Secretary/Treasurer Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association Editors Note: Rex correspondence to BVSC and from Clr McBain is held
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