ONE has only to look at the shenanigans surrounding last year’s appointment of a new Toodyay shire CEO to see why the council’s “culture and dynamics” are being examined in a new State-funded review.
The same veteran councillors who opposed the dumping of the previous CEO and then tried to stall the start date for a new one may have some explaining to do.
It might include why – during a critical staff shortage and costly pandemic restrictions – those members were uncharacteristically absent from two special meetings called to allow the new CEO to start a month earlier than planned.
The first meeting had to be aborted because it lacked a quorum of at least five members of the nine-member council to be present in the chamber.Read more
Cr Brian Rayner turned up a week later to provide a quorum for a second special meeting but offered no public explanation when he kept his hand down and remained silent during a call for objections.
He then defeated the motion by voting against it, resulting in a 4-1 decision which lacked a required absolute majority of five votes to pass.
The defeat suggested a hidden agenda or perhaps indicated someone else pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Whatever the reason, such behaviour by an elected community representative is abhorrent to open, accountable and transparent local government.
Some were bitterly disappointed when last year’s State Government inquiry into the shire administration and council resulted in no sackings or prosecutions.
It did however publish 25 adverse findings that exposed a former council that seemed all too willing to turn a blind eye to unethical behaviour, unlawful actions and costly mistakes.
That same council even went so far as to exploit the resignation of a member who moved interstate by organising a secret vote a month later to rescind a decision not to re-employ its later-discredited former CEO.
The two former civic leaders who presided over that costly fiasco still sit on the council and have never said a word publicly to explain their actions.
Meanwhile, the council’s culture and dynamics continue to be on public display for anyone who cares to endure the ordeal of watching its monthly meetings online.
Many are characterised by lengthy points of order, occasional shouting, aggressive outbursts, disputes with the chair and rulings pointedly ignored.
Whether the latest review can resolve any of this may be a forlorn hope – the ultimate solution may lie in next October’s poll.