City councillors will next week meet behind closed doors to make the most important decision of their term. A special meeting to discuss a "confidential personnel matter" will reportedly focus on chief executive officer Peter Schneider's future after 17 months in the job.
Mayor Tony Herbert this week revealed Mr Schneider's six and 12-month performance reviews had been "unanimously" passed by councillors. The most recent review was in March.
"I cannot know the minds of my fellow councillors nor am I able to talk further about the meeting scheduled for Monday night, however the CEO has proven that he has responded to the many challenges he has faced, many of an historical nature, and continues to act in the best interest of council and the community moving forward," Cr Herbert said in a statement to The Standard.
Cr Herbert knows two others back his support for Mr Schneider. He can't speak for the other four but it is clear where they stand.
Cr Sue Cassidy was critical of the CEO at this week's public meeting because a review announced in March last year, designed to restructure the organisation's staffing resources to make it financially sustainable, would not be implemented until the first half of next year.
Councillors are only responsible for one staff appointment - the CEO. Six of the current seven councillors appointed Mr Schneider. That was a big decision. Monday's decision is even bigger. It is rare for councillors to axe a CEO but if they do, they too have to be held to account. Should they fall on their swords for the initial appointment? How much will such a decision cost long-suffering ratepayers? Is this in the best interests of the city and ratepayers? If If the status quo remains, can this divisive process be forgotten for the common good?
Only last month the council acknowledged it had lost ratepayers' confidence. Will this, regardless of the outcome, help restore it? Ratepayers will be quick to judge. They can cast their own votes at October's elections. There is a lot at stake for everyone involved.