Council ignoring CEO petition: proponent

A petition with 1024 signatories calling for Warrnambool City Council to advertise its chief executive officer position is being ignored by the council, the petition’s organiser says.

David Thompson, of Woolsthorpe, said the council’s decision to send him a letter outlining the formal appointment procedures for a CEO did not address the petition’s call.

The council held a closed meeting on Monday to discuss the petition and released a statement afterwards saying “the aims of the petition will be further considered by council during the normal appointment process for the position of CEO.”

The statement also said “the petition did not call for an immediate action or undertaking.”

Mr Thompson, who owns properties in the Warrnambool council area, said he launched the petition because the contract for the current CEO, Bruce Anson, was due to expire in January next year.

He said Mr Anson had held the position since 2007 but the position had never been advertised with Mr Anson being reappointed by councillors every time his contract was due for renewal.

“The council is not looking to the market for the best CEO.

“The whole point of the petition is we could be selling ourselves short,” Mr Thompson said.

Councils usually got 40-50 applicants when they advertised CEO positions, he said.

The CEO was the only position for which councillors had a say in who was appointed and they owed it to the ratepayers to get the best possible CEO.

“Reappointing is not the right thing to do,” Mr Thompson said. 

He said he had no problem with Mr Anson being reappointed if he was found to be the best candidate.

Mr Thompson also took issue with the council’s decision not to discuss the petition in an open meeting. He said he had been told the petition was discussed in a closed meeting because it mentioned Mr Anson as the current CEO, making the petition a contractual issue. 

The council is not looking to the market for the best CEO

David Thompson

Prior to the closed meeting, Warrnambool mayor Robert Anderson said the petition would be dealt with confidentially because it involved staffing, personal or contractual matters.

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