Up for the job?

ELECTED councillors often aren’t up to the task of choosing a CEO and might need an overseer, Perth chair commissioner Andrew Hammond has suggested.

At the final day of public hearings for the City of Perth inquiry, Cmmr Hammond said he’d seen examples where the choice of CEO had caused havoc.

“[It led to] poor performance appraisals, or contracts not being renewed because the person involved just simply wasn’t liked, or that they – in a country context – sent their kids to a private school in Perth instead of the local school,” Cmmr Hammond said.

Councillors might be biased against a CEO who’d rightly reported their suspected misconduct and could withhold their pay rises or sack them outright.

“That is a problem,” he told the inquiry.

Cmmr Hammond, formerly CEO of Rockingham, said councillors should still have the say on the CEO, but with guidance.

“[Local government] is one of the only industries where your performance is judged and decisions made potentially by people that know absolutely nothing about the industry of which the CEO’s involved with,” Cmmr Hammond said.

Inquiry commissioner Tony Power, who will be advising the state government on needed reforms, seemed to take particular interest in Cmmr Hammond’s ideas, making a rare interruption to ask if councils would benefit from “experts to assist” and “guidelines” in hiring CEOs.

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