Len’s off

VINCENT council CEO Len Kosova has announced he will resign in September after three and a half years in the job.

His contract runs until 2021, but Mr Kosova said he wants to spend more time with his kids and do more consultancy work in the local government sector.

It was a far shorter innings than his predecessor John Giorgi, who stayed for 20 years until councillors voted to bin him in 2014.

Mr Kosovo was a planning director at Wannaroo council when he applied for the Vincent CEO gig and saw off 52 other candidates.

He had a lot of work ahead of him when he first stepped in to the role, finding the previous regime’s paperwork idiosyncratic.

• Vincent councillor Joanne Fotakis, Len Kosova, Mayor Emma Cole and councillor Alex Castle. File photo

Detail orientated

The first challenge was turning around an inherited budget that was headed for disaster because a staffer accidentally recorded $3.2million of deficit as surplus.

He brought in stricter spending measures, saying at the time “we’ve had to introduce a great deal more financial control and rigour than the organisation has previously experienced.”

It wasn’t the only leftover oddity he had to deal with, also uncovering a decade-old error that the previous city administration wrongly held on to $780,000 of cash that should have gone to the Leederville Gardens retirement village reserve fund.

His predecessor John Georgi was popular with staff, with more than 80 per cent of them signing a petition imploring the council to keep their boss.

Staff morale

When the Voice asked if his detailed-orientated approach might put staff noses out of joint, Mr Kosova said: “I’ll be blunt: We’re here to run a business on behalf of our community. It’s not a popularity contest, and we need to make sure we’re extracting the best value for public money.

“For some staff that might be something that’s different and maybe a little uncomfortable, but other staff are embracing it and appreciate the extra accountability and responsibilities.”

Councillors were chuffed with their new man, even increasing his salary by 8 per cent in the December 2015 review.

Not every staffer loved the new leadership style though.

In August 2017, former councillor Dudley Maier said several city employees had told him staff morale was low. That claim came shortly after the city went through a round of redundancies.

Mr Kosova said the redundancies weren’t forced (staff have the option of taking up a different role), and said they only affected 14 positions and would improve efficiency and customer service.

In the press release announcing the resignation Vincent mayor Emma Cole said “When Len joined the City of Vincent in August 2014, the Council had committed to a journey of significant reform in the way Vincent serves our community. Len joined us with great passion, good humour and smarts, and he has given the role of CEO 110 per cent. We’ve enjoyed almost four years of Len at the helm of our administration, and councillors and I greatly value the cohesive and collegiate relationship we have built as Team Vincent.

“During this time together we have achieved real and meaningful change. Len has driven cultural change and strong performance within our organisation, and this has made the world of difference in delivering some great outcomes for our community.”

Mr Kosova has given five months notice to allow the city to recruit a new CEO, finalise the 2018–19 budget and finalise some long-term strategic plans.

by DAVID BELL

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