Kiama Council has appointed Veronica Lee as Director Corporate & Commercial, and Chief Financial Officer.
Her year long appointment was made in August, following the departure of Rob Owens earlier in the year.
The interim appointment was made as Council is currently conducting a review of its structure.
Ms Lee comes to the position with 30 years’ experience in State and local government. She has held roles as diverse as General Manager of Mosman Council for three years and Director of the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Counterterrorism and Disaster Recovery Unit.
Most recently she held a senior executive role at the Office of Sport.
Given time for reflection after leaving this position,
Ms Lee says she has realised her passion is for local government.
“This is where I feel most comfortable and believe I can make a difference.
“It is an opportunity to take advantage of the different experiences I’ve had, bring some fresh eyes to the organisation and see where there can be some efficiencies and improvements.
“I’m looking at the how the areas within my responsibility operate and what improvements we can make to meet the community’s needs.
“I think that continuous improvement approach is very important.
“It is really easy to say we have always done it this way, but is it really working?
“It doesn’t mean that things aren’t being done well, but why not test it out?”
She is very impressed with the quality of the staff and their commitment to Kiama.
“When you have that, if there are improvements to be made then they can be made quite easily,” she says.
With the State Government having an increasing role in local government, Ms Lee is confident her experience will be useful to Council as it deals with new policies and opportunities.
“I can understand their [the State Government’s] language and see what they are trying to achieve.”
Realising the importance of local context, Ms Lee is living down here mid-week and returning to Sydney on the weekends.
“Local government is all about being local and I think it is important to be here, to be able go to the precinct meetings and the like, and get a real feel for the community.”
Council’s loss of income during COVID-19 means she is taking on the Chief Financial Officer role at a challenging time.
The postponement of the council elections means the usual process of devising integrated plans for the next four years has also been delayed.
Ms Lee sees the extra year as an opportunity to come up with even better plans.