Suspended Ashburton Shire holds first return meeting

Local-Government-Minister-Tony-Simpson-with-the-Shire-of-Ashburton-CouncillorsShire of Ashburton Councillors reconvened for their first Ordinary Meeting on July 17 as they focus on governance training and the responsibilities of a Council following a probity audit and six-month suspension.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson attended the meeting along with a mentoring panel, which has been established to provide support to Council and Shire staff for the next six months.

Mr Simpson encouraged the Council to fulfill their roles to the standard expected by local communities.

“The past few months have seen many positive changes occur within the Shire of Ashburton,” Mr Simpson said.

“We’ve seen training for Councillors and the appointment of a monitoring and mentoring panel.”

Training was conducted through the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the WA Local Government Association.

“The training was a great opportunity for Councillors to refocus on the role and structure of local government, meeting processes, land use planning and ethical responsibilities,” Mr Simpson said.

The Council was suspended for six months in December 2012 and Commissioner Ronald Yuryevich appointed to run it.

Councillors were reinstated on June 12, and a mentoring panel set up to help Council improve its decision-making and meeting processes, provide advice to elected members and senior staff, and monitor Council business.

Panel members include Cr Karen Chappel, deputy president of the Local Government Advisory Board and Shire President of Morawa, Don Burnett, the CEO of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Shire and Jenni Law from the Department of Local Government.

The Shire also announced the appointment of Neil Hartley as chief executive officer on July 17.

Hartley will be leaving his current role as CEO for the City of Kwinana and has more than 35-years experience working for local governments.

“I feel very privileged to be offered the opportunity to be the Shire of Ashburton’s CEO,” Hartley said.

“Especially during a time when the Shire is growing very quickly and is making such a considerable contribution to local communities, and also to the entire nation.”

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