Done in the dark
THIS newspaper has no problem with the current Toodyay Shire CEO being offered a ‘temporary’ new job when his current four-year contract ends next month.
A State Government inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay seems unlikely to end soon, and it may be better that he stays to answer any questions that may arise when the findings are made.Read more
Evidence already exists that it is not only “outside people” who are unhappy with our shire’s performance – as Shire President Brian Rayner claimed on ABC Radio Perth last month – but that the WA Local Government Department itself is worried enough to send in a team of full-time investigators who have been making detailed inquiries for the past six months.
Even if the inquiry ends in a clean slate for our shire, of concern to all ratepayers must surely be the manner in which last month’s council decision was made.
As Cr Bill Manning – a former senior State Government commercial lawyer with years of high-level corporate experience – said at a council meeting in February, choosing a CEO is one of the most important decisions any council can make.
But last month’s vote was done in stealth with no notice on the agenda paper, councillors were kept in the dark and ratepayers locked out of the chamber.
Plotters first had to defeat what amounted to a potential censure motion – with President Rayner delivering his casting vote after a 4:4 split behind closed doors – before the ambush was sprung.
State law governing councils “is intended to result in better decision making, greater community participation in decisions and greater accountability of local governments to their communities”.
There was little sign of that last month.
Rushing to do things in secret without due consideration is fraught with danger, and there may still be procedural questions to answer before the CEO can be offered a valid new contract – time will tell.
Of more concern in the run-up to fresh council elections in October is that public confidence in our shire – already fragile – has taken yet another battering.
When will they ever learn?