A former Lord Mayor has blasted Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council as “a disgrace”.
DUP councillor Darryn Causby hit out at the Council’s perceived lack of “a final organisational plan” or having “the right people in the right places”, three years after the amalgamation of the three local legacy boroughs.
This, he claims, has left staff morale “very low”.
“It is nothing short of a disgrace that we still do not have a final organisational plan or the right people in the right places,” slammed Mr Causby, who was appointed as the first Lord Mayor of the new Council in 2015.
He added: “Department heads don’t have key staff in roles to help them run departments. Staff morale is very low.
“Many staff doing the same jobs are on different pay scales and people are confused about who to contact about issues.
“I along with councillor Margaret Tinsley have raised this issue since the council began and to date we still do not have a final council structure.
“I understand that every other council in Northern Ireland has long since completed this task and we are still dithering.
“Indeed, some councils are reviewing their original structure and doing this for the second time and we haven’t even got it done once.”
Councillor Causby said he raised these issues at every committee and at full council in May/June.
However, he continued: “It has got to the stage that our party is very concerned that the lack of structure is having a detrimental impact on the council’s ability to provide a quality service for our rate payers.
“By not having this task completed council’s ability to be proactive and respond to local needs is being hampered.
“The responsibility for the implementation of these structures lies with the most senior officials within the Council and it is about time it was sorted once and for all.
“I am calling on the Council to implement a realistic time line for completion of this task to move immediately to ensure every possible effort is made to give our employees and rate payers assurances that this is being taken seriously.
“We must ensure our employees know they are valued and appreciated and that any inequalities are immediately corrected. Morale must be boosted and creating the new structure will go some way to helping with that.”
Responding to councillor Causby’s concerns, a Council spokesperson said: “The Council is going through a period of unprecedented change, the biggest change in Local Government in 40 years.
“With three large Councils coming together as one – making the second largest Council in NI – we are working through a number of complex HR (Human Resources) issues so that our staff are treated fairly and equitably and structures are fit for purpose, providing the services local people need – whilst providing the best value for ratepayers.
“We continue to work in partnership with our Trade Unions and staff to implement a structure that will support our community into the future.
“Our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure service delivery continues during this period of change as we continue to support our communities, businesses and the local economy.”