Council picks City of Perth commissioner for review
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
A FORMER City of Perth commissioner has been selected by the Toodyay Shire Council to conduct a formal governance review of the Shire of Toodyay.
The independent review was recommended by a year-long State Government inquiry into the operations and affairs of the scandal-plagued former Toodyay council and its disgraced former CEO.
The new council last month selected Perth specialist management consultants Hammond Woodhouse Advisory to conduct the review.
Principal Consultant Andrew Hammond (left) is a former CEO for the shires of Nannup and Wyndham East Kimberley, and the cities of Albany and Rockingham.
His company’s website describes Mr Hammond as the “principal systems architect and author of the integrated community strategic plans for the Cities of Albany, Rockingham and Perth”.
He was appointed by the State Government in 2018 as a commissioner “to restore good governance to the suspended City of Perth”.
He “led the City until the election of the new Lord Mayor in October 2020”.Read more
A report on a WA Government inquiry into Toodyay Shire Council and its administration listed 25 adverse findings against former shire CEO Stan Scott and the previous council.
It said the former council failed to properly manage the former CEO’s behaviour and actions over the seven-year period investigated.
Those held responsible include two current serving councillors whose four-year terms expire in October.
They are former Toodyay shire president Brian Rayner (right) and former shire deputy president Therese Chitty (far right).
Adverse findings against the former council and the former CEO were tabled in State Parliament last October.
Mr Hammond’s independent review is scheduled to be finalised on September 30.
A final report and recommendations are due to be submitted to the State Government according to a timetable agreed by the WA Local Government Department.
Director General Duncan Ord last month granted a request by the debt-laden current council that the State – not Toodyay ratepayers – cover the review cost.
Management consultant Hammond Woodhouse Advisory was selected behind closed doors at last month’s council meeting.
The contract price was kept confidential.
The shire had earlier estimated the cost at between $20,000-$50,000, which would have wiped out most or all of this year’s $40,000 shire budget surplus.
In a letter dated April 13 tabled at last month’s council meeting, Mr Ord wrote to Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst noting the “positive and proactive manner that the shire has responded to the recommendations of the authorised inquiry report”.
He asked the shire to “complete the current request for a quotation” and said his department would pay for the review “in accordance with the Shire of Toodyay Scope for Work of Governance Review previously provided by the department”.
Mr Ord said his department would also need to agree to who conducted the review.
Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said the department had provided a template for the governance review terms of reference to use as the basis for its scope.
It was emailed to councillors for feedback before quotes were sought.
Former Toodyay Progress Association chair Larry Graham (pictured left telling a 2019 WA Parliamentary Select Committee hearing that five local councils, including the Shire of Toodyay, should be axed and merged into a single new Avon Regional Authority) told last month’s council meeting that the invitation to seek quotes “should not have been made”.
He said the review terms of reference had not been authorised by the Director General of the Local Government Department, as recommended in the inquiry report.
It was not enough that it be approved by the department, he said.
“The administration of neither the shire nor the department know what the council or the Director General may or may not approve,” Mr Graham said.
“It’s not dancing on the head of a pin.
“You are not allowed to be ambushed and you have been.”