Why Campbelltown Council GM has been one of us for decades

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Lindy Deitz is in her tenth year as Campbelltown Council general manager, but few residents feel they know who she really is.

The narrative is that Campbelltown’s first woman general manager doesn’t live here, which implies she probably doesn’t really care about the town.

But the criticism extends to her directors, on the basis that they don’t live in Campbelltown either so cannot possibly be emotionally engaged with residents and the problems they face.

In an interview with the South West Voice to mark her tenth year milestone, Ms Deitz says the narrative is just wrong.

“I reject that strongly; people don’t even take the time to understand why people move,’’ she says.

“I moved at a point where I took on a really big job with three young children and I needed family support.

“My in-laws live down in the Southern Highlands, so my father in law said : we need to be able to help you with the children.

“I was living in an old a barn, and he was lighting the fire for us, because my husband was working here as a high school teacher,’’ says Ms Deitz.

“He ended up getting a transfer down there so one of us would be closer to the children.

“I didn’t move because I didn’t love Campbelltown anymore, I moved because I needed practical family support.

“I spend more time here than I do at home – this is my home, I love this community.’’

Lindy Deitz with Mayor Paul Hawker and her predecessor Paul Tosi; below, with Mayor George Brticevic.

Ms Deitz says her expectation of council directors is that they do immerse themselves in the community.

“I too am immersed in the community; I am down at the depot, I have lunch with Uncle Ivan, I walk the parks and the streets, and go to a lot of events, including on the weekend.’’

The main thing that a lot of Campbelltown residents don’t know about Lindy Deitz is that she has a huge connection with this neck of the woods.

And we’re not just talking about working at Campbelltown Council for 31 years, 10 of them in the big chair as the general manager.

She was born in the Bendigo area, where she had a very happy childhood: “I’d hop on my bike on a Sunday morning, ride an hour to my friend’s farm and mum and dad’s rule was – be home before sunset,’’ she tells me.

“I was on my pushbike, rode horses, drove tractors, swam in dams, that kind of thing, a really solid happy country childhood.’’

At the tender age of 17, Lindy Deitz left Bendigo behind, for ever as it turned out, and came out to Sydney to study nursing, just like her mother and sister had done before her.

“My interests were children – I loved children and wanted to be an early childhood teacher,’’ says Ms Deitz.

“At the last minute I changed my mind and decided to do what mum and my older sister Jenny did.’’

Then the planets aligned, twice, to connect young Ms Deitz to Campbelltown, a place on the other side of Sydney from where she was studying nursing.

She was assigned to do her practical stint as a student nurse in Campbelltown, so the first time she gets in the car and …

“… I was driving past cows and paddocks and was wondering: where have they sent me,’’ she recalls.

“Surely this can’t still be Sydney.’’

Then the second planetary alignment took place when she got married after graduating and her husband’s first posting as a teacher was here in Campbelltown.

The newlyweds rented a tiny little house in Bradbury, then over the next few years moved to Leumeah, returned to Bradbury, then went to Rosemeadow, before they finally built their own home in Currans Hill.

So in essence, Lindy Deitz did her growing up, from a teenager to full adulthood here in Campbelltown.

Three children came along, which meant that career plans had to take a back seat, buts as Ms Deitz explains, opportunities just kept turning up.

Her connection to Campbelltown Council was sparked when she saw an advertisement for a maternity leave placement in their child care centres.

It also coincided with her becoming disillusioned with nursing.

Ms Ditz got a part time job with council – “I loved working for council’’ – and eventually those wonderful planets of fate aligned once again for her.

The manager of council child care at the time left, and the person who would have got the job also left around the same time.

“I was last man standing, and all child care staff were saying, Lindy, you have to apply for the job, because if you don’t they’ll get someone from outside and shut child care down,’’ Ms Deitz said.

A few years later the director for child care services left, and you guessed it, Ms Deitz was asked to step in, this time in an acting capacity.

“The general manager Paul Tosi called me and said, I’d like you to act in the job.

“And when the advertisement for the job went up, he said, I want you to apply, which I did and got it.’’

Being a director, reporting to the GM means you’re one step away from getting the top job yourself.

And since this story is a lot about planets aligning, Ms Deitz was once again in the right place at the right time when Mr Tosi started talking about retirement.

“As this was happening, he had a stroke,’’ says Ms Deitz.

“I was in the ambulance that took him to hospital, and I sat in the hospital with him until his family came.

“He said to me: I need you to look after the joint for me, and that’s how I became acting GM – and the rest is history.’’

Sadly, Paul Tosi, passed away just four years into his retirement.

Lindy Deitz says he was like a second father to her.

“He believed in me before I believed in me,’’ she says.

As general manager for 10 years Ms Deitz has worked side by side with four mayors, Paul Lake, Paul Hawker, George Brticevic and George Greiss, the current holder of the office.

“Every mayor I’ve worked for has been different,’’ she says.

“I was really lucky to have Paul Lake as my first mayor; he gave me a lot of guidance and we still keep in touch.

[The late] Paul Hawker, he had a different style again, he was a bit more formal.

“Then I worked with George Brticevic – that was a tough gig in the sense it was a long gig because of Covid.

“And then I got George Greiss, who is strategic, and academic, and a visionary in that sense.

“They are all different but have one thing in common: love and dedication to the city and the community,’’ says Ms Deitz.

Emergencies such as bushfires, floods and a one in 100 year pandemic have been among the top challenges for council during the past 10 years.

“All were in close succession, and I found that incredibly challenging, particularly supporting the community through those emergencies,’’ she says.

“Covid was super tough, but I am really proud of what we achieved in that period.’’

5 thoughts on “Why Campbelltown Council GM has been one of us for decades”

  1. I have lived in Campbelltown for 48 years and this council is third rate. Why aren’t you asking questions about the blow out in the cost of the Billabong and all the new fees and charges we are having applied to us as rate payers?

  2. I agree I didn’t really know a lot about Lindy Dietz GM but it’s good to read about her country background the riding a push bike to visit a friend my dad used to tell me stories of riding 15 klm on a push bike to get to school everyday. You don’t always have to have a background of being GM at other councils I think Lindy chose the most practical way of getting to know about Campbelltown by living and working in the area and as her family grew she needed to be practical and as a grandfather myself we loved minding children and when my daughter decided to go to University we moved her family in with us. I take my hat off to you Lindy being our first Woman GM and achieving 10 years in the job.
    Paul Blyton
    Former Deputy Mayor


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