Staff numbers queried

An increase in West Coast Regional Council staff numbers to almost 80 has been called out by a senior councillor.

The matter came up last week when former chairman Allan Birchfield queried a statement by his replacement Cr Peter Haddock, which said it was good council management staff numbers were almost back to full muster following recent appointments.

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It comes after the council adopted a policy of returning its core functions in-house and cutting back on external contractors.

However, Cr Birchfield expressed concern over the recruitment of more staff.

"What is the total number of people that will be employed by the West Coast Regional Council?"

Chief executive Darryl Lew said he would need to come back with a clear answer.

However, the council now had a revised staffing requirement which encompassed the "full-time equivalent" baseline of employment.

Cr Birchfield persisted: "How many people?"

Mr Lew: "Roughly 70".

Cr Birchfield: "My figures say 80"

Mr Lew replied it was in the "high 70s".

Cr Birchfield said the increase in staff was a concern when the sustainability of the region having four councils for only 32,000 people was questionable.

"We're getting to be a big bureaucracy for the people of the West Coast to carry. I just can't see how the people of the West Coast can carry four councils."

Cr Peter Ewen agreed that the region should only have one local government entity "eventually".

— Brendon McMahon, Local Democracy Reporter