The Inspectorate sought views on a range of topics related to the employment cycle of the CEO from the three Victorian peak bodies that represent councils: LG Professionals (LGPro), Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA).
As part of the review, the Inspectorate asked the peak bodies to give their views on any current gaps in the employment cycle process and improvements that could be made. In particular, the Inspectorate sought views on the method in which new and reappointed CEO contracts are negotiated, prepared and executed and on the current performance management of CEOs by councils. Peak bodies were also asked about the appropriate length of CEO appointments without the requirement to formally advertise the position.
LGPro gave a detailed response to inform all aspects of the Inspectorate’s review, while the VLGA provided a summary of its key issues and recommendations. MAV indicated the relevance of its submissions a, b to the directions paper for the new Local Government Act and Local Government Bill exposure draft to the issues raised.
In its response, LGPro considered the relationship between CEO and council to be critical and any legislative change or sector improvements put in place need to strengthen the relationship and help to improve, or at the very least safeguard, the perception of the sector.
It was recognised by LGPro that this relationship is potentially more difficult where there is a perceived power imbalance; inexperienced and unskilled councillors (non-professional or skilled backgrounds) and an experienced CEO. The same could be said to apply where long serving councillors appoint an inexperienced CEO. It was indicated that while the issues identified by the Inspectorate are significant, there was a prevailing view that they are prominent rather than prevalent.