Council’s new GM keen to get straight down to business

Council’s new general manager Peter  Vlatko and his wife Anna joined Cobar Shire councillors and staff for a day out at the Cobar Races on Saturday.
Council’s new general manager Peter
Vlatko and his wife Anna joined Cobar Shire councillors and staff for a day out at the Cobar Races on Saturday.

Cobar Shire Council’s new general manager Peter Vlatko started work on Monday and is keen to get straight down to business.

“I want to make sure that council, as a business, is running very efficiently,” Mr Vlatko told The Cobar Weekly on Monday.

“I understand one of the challenges here is to look after a town that relies heavily on the mines and that we need alternative employment opportunities here.

“We need to ensure that we attract the next business and see what is required so that young people can get jobs here and not leave.”

Mr Vlatko said he’s not an old fashioned town clerk.

“I’m creative. I like to look at things purely as a business; it’s not about one option, its about many options. I want all the options to go to council so we can look at what’s in the best interest of the town and get the best result to make informed decisions. Everyone needs to have all the facts in front of them,” he said.

Mr Vlatko was previously employed as the deputy shire clerk at Cobar Shire 28 years ago.

He and his family left Cobar in 1990 and moved to South Australia where Mr Vlatko worked at Stirling and Campbelltown councils.

For the past seven years he held the general manager’s role at Young Shire Council in NSW before his resignation last October.

When questioned about negative media reports following his departure from Young, Mr Vlatko said he was “disappointed” about the coverage he had received.

“There was a confidentiality agreement not to release that. I never got a chance to tell my side of the story.

“It was a simple mistake made by the staff, including the auditor. I’m paying for it; it wasn’t my mistake but as the GM I have to take the responsibility,” he said.

Mr Vlatko said he is pleased to have been given the opportunity to return to Cobar.

“We loved our time here 28 years ago, it was the best times in our lives.”

Mr Vlatko said he and his wife Anna and their then three boys (they added a fourth son to their family after leaving) have many fond memories of their three years living in Cobar.

“The boys loved living here and cried all the way to Adelaide when we left,” he said.

Mr Vlatko said he hasn’t noticed a lot of changes in Cobar since they left.

“We still feel the friendly warmth from people when we walk the streets.

“The place still looks clean, although there are some streets that need TLC on footpaths.

“There’s a few nice subdivisions that have been built and some lovely old homes still here which is great,” he said.

Mr Vlatko said he doesn’t plan to make any major changes at this stage.

“I was told a long time ago that if I come in and change something then don’t worry because they will change it back when you leave.

“The attitude I have now is that I need to understand the ingredients in the cake before it goes in the oven.”

He said he’s aiming to have a harmonious work place, with all staff contributing their ideas and he is also keen to listen to the public.

“I really want to make sure that the council is open to the public; I want to know what their issues are.

“I want to talk to the people; I don’t just want to talk to my council and staff, we work for the people; the public are the shareholders of this place.

“We are here to listen to the community and respond accordingly.

“I want people to know that my door will always be open and my staff will always respond quickly,” he said.

Having been involved with Central West AFL and served on the Young Hospital board, Mr Vlatko said he’s keen to become part of the Cobar community.

“As the GM I don’t want to just be working 9-5, I need to get out there and be a part of the community and give back.

“If you understand the heartbeat then you are more passionate about doing the right thing,” Mr Vlatko said.