Moira Shire Council have appointed a full-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for a four year term in Matthew Morgan who will provide the organisation with stability and will guide the Shire into the future.
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Mr Morgan officially assumed his responsibilities on January 22 and arrives in Moira Shire with a career that includes serving as CEO, manager of governance and information and IT support officer in various local government organisations.
How did you get into local government? Have you been in the industry for a while?
“I grew up in regional Victoria, in and around Daylesford, and it was an opportunity to commence in Hepburn Shire council in the early two thousands as the IT support officer two days a week. And that was my entry into the government.
“That was basically formatting computers, putting computers on desks, helping people when there were problems.
“Then over a period of seven years, my role evolved at Hepburn from the IT support officer into manager of governance and information.
“I think for me, the key thing about government is how connected we are to the community. And the key thing about it within local government is you get to work with every department in the organization.
“So you actually get to see the entire scope of service delivery that councils provide the communities. I think that’s then inspired me to continue to grow through the ranks.
“Influence change and build stronger community connections between council and community.
“I started working in government in 2003 so just over 20 years.”
You obviously enjoy being in local government as well?
“Yes, I’m more of an introverted person but obviously there’s certain aspects to meeting and greeting that comes with the job.
“But to me it’s about community. And to see some of the projects, things like building a childcare centre, silo art projects which just changes the dynamic within the community, things like that where the community come forward and projects they really engage with.”
How are you enjoying Moira Shire so far?
“It’s very good. For me, it’s like a homecoming.
“Having been born and bred in Central Victoria, my wife and I moved to South Australia 15 years ago and since we’ve had three children and now we’ve relocated back to Victoria.
“But also to be closer to our children’s grandparents, just so that we’ve got access to babysitters and things.”
How did you come about taking on the CEO role with Moira Shire?
“It’s been 15 years in South Australia in various different roles including CEO of two different councils.
“I just saw the opportunity at Moira and also wanting to relocate back closer to our core family group.
“It just seemed like the right opportunity at the right time.”
How do you see the shire after its indiscretions that came to light last year?
“I think there’s certainly challenges within the Shire but I think the focus for me moving forward is going to be to work with the administrators, working through the commission of inquiry report,
looking at how we can strengthen the community engagement between council, the administrators, and the broader community.
“More importantly, focusing on the positives as we move forward, which is we do really have a great bunch of people within the council.
“From what I’ve seen in the week and a half I’ve been here, the employees I’ve spoken to have a passion for their community which comes through in the work that they’re doing.
“I’ve also been really heartened by the passion the community has for the community and that was evident on Australia Day.
“I think we’ve got really good foundations.
“What we’ve got to focus on is processes and systems to support people so that we can continue building those strong connections and delivering better outcomes.”
How do you see the shire changing in the future?
“I think the key thing over the next four years is really going to be around creating robust governance structures. So people, process systems, really focusing on developing and supporting our people, implementing best practice systems and processes.
“From a council perspective, more broadly, one of the things that we need to do before the 2028 elections is look at a community leadership development program. How we can encourage and support leadership capacity within the community for a broader mix of people wanting to put their hand up for council. So young people, gender variety.
“Also one of the things that we’ll need to do through that process is what we call a representation review, which is look at when we get to the 2028 elections, how is it best to run that representation model?
“So it will be looking at award structure within the council, just so that we’ve got that local representation coming back into council, that election period.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to get some really good structures in place and some really good habits in place.
“Some good systems and work on that community development around the leadership, competency and capability in the community.
“So there’s a few key things we’re looking at over the next few years. The youth advisory council is a key one I’m very interested in.
“Because of my experience in local government over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a lot of success in moving younger people through those sort of forums into actual council positions.
“At the City of Port Lincoln, we had two people who supported us through leadership programs, actually run for council and actually elected to council.
“I’d like to see that sort of process continue here and get some range, a nice spread of age and experience on the council in 2028.”
What are your personal goals for the shire?
“I think the key things for me over that period of time are the engagement, developing community leadership, community capacity, building stronger and I think reengaging, with aspects of the community and community groups.
“Because council is a partnership. Yes, we provide services to the community but a lot of that relies on partnership with community groups, business associations, and the like, so it’s really about reconnecting and reengaging the community in governance.
“Another key thing will be around how we can leverage external money and bring that into the community as well. So there’s so many good things going on across our communities.
“Obviously we’ve got to work through how we manage the governance and the planning across borders as well. So it’s very unique here in the sense that we have good relationships and looking to develop those relationships with our cross border councils.”
Do you know much about Yarrawonga? What are your thoughts on the town?
“Having grown up in Central Victoria we certainly would’ve been up here when I was little a few times on holidays.
“But other than that we hadn’t had a lot to do with Yarrawonga in recent years. But we are absolutely loving the opportunity here.
“My wife, three children and I will be based in Yarrawonga, and two of our boys started school here.
“It really does feel like home. It feels like a community that we’re supposed to be living in.”
On a personal level, what are some of your hobbies or interests outside of work?
“My hobbies and interests are kind of secondary now to the children’s hobbies.
“For the most part, if people see me outside of work I’m usually following the kids around, driving them to sporting events as they’re very heavily involved in soccer.
“There’ll be a little bit of involvement with footy and potentially basketball as well this year.
“Other than that, I’m really looking forward to giving myself a new set of sticks and taking up golf here.
“I was a weekly golf player in the early two thousands when we lived in Victoria but I haven’t had a chance to play golf in 15 years.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out on the course and hopefully I can sneak in a sneaky nine holes here and there.”