Tipperary County Council is proud to support Your Council Day initiative today, this year the focus is on the people behind the essential services and the role they play in the social and economic recovery of the County post-pandemic.
Marie O'Donnell, Staff Officer, Clonmel Borough District is valued member of staff, please read her profile below to find out about her career progression with Tipperary County Council.
What is your career background?
I have been working with the local authority for 16 years. Until 2016 I worked as a Clerical Officer across a number of departments including the Fire Service, Finance and HR. During that time, I continued with further education starting with a certificate in Local Government Studies and continued up to Degree Level in Public Management.
In 2016 I took part in the local authority graduate programme which was open to both external graduates and local authority employees with a third level degree. I was successful in my application for the position and was placed in HR. This gave me the opportunity to work at a higher grade for 2 years within our HR department. I also completed a Certificate in Human Resources during this time.
By taking part in the programme I gained a lot of experience at a managerial level and when a Grade 5 position was advertised I applied and was successful. I was appointed as Staff Officer in 2018 and was placed in the Clonmel Borough District.
What does your role involve?
I manage a team of 4 clerical officers and 2 assistant staff officers. The work in the District office is very diverse. We deal with everything from housing maintenance, roads maintenance to environment including cemetery burials and maintenance. I am responsible for the administration of the monthly meeting of elected members for this district, and there is a lot of organisational work involved in that. I also deal with GDPR, FOI, AIE and Ombudsman requests. I am also the administrate support for the emergency flood response plan here in Clonmel which is high priority every year which involves a lot of behind-the-scenes co-ordination as well as communicating to the public about flood events and our response.
What are the most rewarding things about working for a local authority?
Working in the community and dealing with our stakeholders is very rewarding. There is a broad range of challenges every day and we deal with a big cross-section of people. I am born and bred in the County and it feels good to put my local knowledge to work in delivering a service to the county. You are making a difference and helping people all the time – and that has been especially true during covid19 as we adapt to challenges and find solutions through advice, grants and participation. It has been particularly busy during this Covid19 period because as well as our normal duties and workload we also have the roll-out of covid19 response initiatives. I enjoy the diversity in my role, it gives me confidence in my ability to be more flexible, improving time management and lead the team by motivating them by the benefits and positive impact it has on the local community and businesses.
Why should someone consider a career with their local authority?
I would highly recommend a career in local government. There are so many varied functions within the local government – you need never be bored! You can work in one section of the council, gain experience there and then if the opportunity arises to request a transfer to another section I would recommend so, you will gain more experience and broader knowledge of the local authority. There are excellent staff mentoring supports and educational opportunities, which I myself took advantage of. It’s also very satisfying to bring the skills I acquired in other sections I worked in to my new role in the Clonmel Borough District.