The Dorset Council is distinctive among its peers in that it unashamedly emulates the private sector, mayor of Dorset Greg Howard said.
Mr Howard, who is the president of the Scottsdale Liberal Party branch, said the council had gone from being in long-term deficit six years ago to repeated yearly surpluses of $1 - 2 million.
He said it has reduced management positions within the council bureaucracy by four, and reduced director positions from four to three.
It has completely overhauled the management team, so that there are no senior management staff remaining from when general manager Tim Watson took over seven years ago, and has tried to trim bureaucratic processes.
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Mr Howard said councils should be clear-eyed when deciding if all of their staff positions were necessary.
"You need private enterprise focus to make that call - and it is a hard call," he said.
"When we have to replace [senior staff] we'll be looking to other people who have worked in private enterprise, not other councils. That focus has allowed us to change the culture of the entire council."
Mr Howard said Dorset had its own construction crew, and when it had to put work out to tender, it acted as if it had the tight profit margin of a private business.
"Councils have to be smarter in terms of getting the job done," he said.
"It's pretty common knowledge in industry that if you're doing a job for council - or for state or federal government - you can whack 30 per cent on top on top of your tender price and get away with it.
"We often send tenders back and tell them to come back with something more realistic."
They have also taken over waste collection, saving $250,000 a year; shaved tens of thousands off insurance premiums; and offered incentives to staff who can suggest ways to save money, Mr Howard said.
"We've had employees come up with ideas that have saved us in excess of $50,000 a year," he said.
But critics of the council routinely say its approach has reduced community consultation.