Council winds back CEO authority

MELVILLE city council has dramatically reined in the power of CEO Shayne Silcox.

His authority to sell council assets without seeking the elected council’s permission has been reduced from $8 million to $500,000.

Traditionally, he has run all asset sales past the council regardless of the rules but Cr Effie Nicholson says a future CEO might not be as accommodating.

She says asset sales are strategic, not operational, so decisions should rest with the elected council.

“I don’t think it’s right that ratepayers’ assets be left at the whim of CEOs,” she said. “Dr Silcox said to us ‘I would never sell a property without it going before council’, and he’s been true to his word.

“But the next CEO might not have that same take.”

Her motion to reduce the authority ceiling passed nine votes to three.

Acting CEO Marten Tieleman agreed with the change and said it, “reflects the manner in which we currently undertake land sales in anyway”.

Compared to neighbouring councils Melville delegates enormous levels of decision-making to staff. In May just one planning decision went before the elected council for a decision compared to Cockburn which handled nine and Fremantle which tackled five.

“In my view there are too many delegated authorities going from the councillors to the CEO and this is one of them,” Cr Nicholson said.


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