Councils share CEO

After a number of successful sharing arrangements, the neighbouring Western Australian Shires of Tammin and Kellerberrin have embarked on another partnership. This time they will share a Chief Executive Officer.

Stuart Taylor CEO of Kellerberrin was appointed to the joint position under a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Shires. The idea of sharing the position had been first mooted some 10 years ago but was not introduced due to Councillor opposition and prohibition of such an arrangement under the Local Government Act.

The new Act, introduced in 1995, had no such prohibition and prompted Tammin Shire President Councillor Joan Button to resurrect the idea. The two Shires already share accounting management, a pilot waste disposal scheme and an Environmental Health Officer at considerable cost savings.

The CEO share agreement began on 1 January 2000 and will continue for two years. Four months down the track Stuart Taylor said the arrangement is working well with only a few minor teething problems. "It was necessary to get processes in both offices working in the same way for them to be compatible," he said. "This required a small amount of training to gain consistency in reporting, minute keeping and other matters."

He is adamant that the arrangement is not amalgamation by default, arguing that it in fact has the contrary effect. "The purpose of the resource sharing between the two Shires is precisely to avoid the issue of amalgamation," he said. "Both Shires retain their resources and decision making powers while being able to cut costs through the shared arrangements.

"There is more money on the ground without having to raise rates, so there are cost efficiencies as well as resource efficiencies which is what the Department of Local Government wants. The Department is very happy with the arrangement and has offered support should any glitches occur."

Little travelling is required between the two offices, as they are only 23 kilometres apart. Asked whether any conflicts of interest arise, he pointed out most municipalities include more than one major town. "We look at any project on its own merits and act accordingly," he said. "The arrangement is not designed for one party to have a greater share than the other, and it does not work that way."

For further information contact Stuart Taylor, telephone (08) 9045 4006