New city boss warns of funding challenges

CORK’S new city manager has warned that reduced funding and staff numbers will pose significant challenges in the years ahead.

Tim Lucey also said that the outsourcing of certain management functions may have to be considered in the coming months.

“I’m not going to dwell on the challenges but they are significant,” Tim Lucey told city councillors at his first full council meeting on Monday night since taking office on September 1 following Joe Gavin’s retirement.

“We will be looking at options where we are under pressure,” he said.

“Our staff numbers have dropped and we have to move them around to protect services in one area, while at same time outsourcing management elsewhere.”

He said Cork City Council has been outsourcing certain functions for years, particularly in road and housing maintenance, and in the management of leisure facilities such as the city-owned pools in Bishopstown, Churchfield and Douglas. And he stressed that staff will be the first to know if outsourcing is being actively considered.

But he said the funding challenges could “bring out the best in people”, and result in important partnerships with local communities and business groups.

And he pledged to work in a spirit of co-operation, understanding, openness and honesty with council staff, councillors and the wider public.

Sinn Féin Cllr Chris O’Leary said privatisation is not the answer to revenue shortages. “It will place jobs at risk and cost the city and the consumer more in the long term,” he said.

“The manager needs to be up front with the city’s democratically elected representatives about his plans.”

Mr Lucey set out his stall to councillors at a series of briefings before Monday’s meeting and said he wanted to indicate a spirit of “partnership and co-operation”.

A marathon runner from Bandon, Mr Lucey was Northern Divisional Manager with Cork County Council from March 2006, holding responsibility for a range of services, including housing, roads, water, planning, community, recreation and amenity services and economic development.

From 2002 to 2006, he was the director of Corporate Affairs at Cork County Council in charge of the council’s secretariat, corporate planning, communications and public relations, legal services and the re-development of County Hall.

He was the council’s financial accountant from 1996 to 2002.

Having begun his career in 1982 with Cork County Council, he worked with the former Southern Health Board, Cork City Council and Skibbereen Urban District Council (1987 to 1991). A qualified accountant, he also holds a degree in Public Administration from the IPA and a Diploma in Healthcare Management.


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