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I hold a managing position with the State of Tasmania, and yesterday received an invitation by brochure to attend the “Annual Public Sector Update”, which includes lunch from 11.45 on a working day, presentations and ‘networking drinks’ to follow presentations at 5.15 – 7.00pm .

The Conference, as it is styled, is presented by Chartered Secretaries Australia and sponsored by KPMG. The invitation is clearly designed to attract those in the State Service,  as it refers to “your agency“ and how “you“ “deliver governance”. It says “attendance is essential for anyone with the responsibility to implement and oversee good governance in their department or agency “.

There are to be five speakers, two are people from KPMG and three are people on the public payroll: Rhys Edwards, Secretary of DPAC (whose own appointment without selection process by school friend Bartlett is a model of “governance” Tasmanian-style ), Mike Paine, CEO Southern Water and Tony Ferrall, Dep. Sec. Department of Treasury and Finance.

The cost of attendance is $475.00 for CSA non- members;  $430.00 members.

Now I might be interested in hearing the papers these Titans of Public Sector Management have prepared (based on their public sector derived training and experience, perhaps prepared in public work time and delivered on a public sector working day) but not at a cost to my agency of most of my working day and $475.00.

I would go to hear them if – as one would expect should be the case – there was no fee and it was in a lunch hour or hours.

So when this Conference is proceeding on the 5th October 2011 at the Henry Jones Hotel, I won’t be there.

But I’ll bet a lot of State Servants will be, their agencies (i.e. the taxpayer) having paid their fees to be there, and their salaries as well, as surely this is “work!”.

I’ll be asking myself why these insights into public sector management aren’t being given to the managers in the public sector as part of the job of those who are strutting around Henry Jones posing as gurus. I’ll be reflecting yet again that the only models of behaviour by many in senior management in the State Service are those of waste, greed, aimless activities posing as work and pomposity .

I’ll also be wondering, if these blokes are so brilliant , why are we in the mess we are in?