Melbourne City Council has a new CEO.
The Age Newspaper reports that Kathy Alexander, former head of Victoria's Women's and Children's Health has secured one of Australia's Highest paid public service jobs.
The Age reports that Kathy Alexander was not John So's first choice with claims that John preferred to have appointed insider "Jobs for the boys" Geoff Lawler. Information provided via the City Elf (hidden way in the Council Governance department) tells a different story. It appears that Garry Singer was driving the show and that John So's comments were a way of passing the buck in order to ease Mr Lawler's pain and pride. Personally we think it is good that the Council has looked outside the City Council for its leadership. The CEO needs to remain at a distance and not get too cosy in propping up the "design me a job" senior management team. Mr Lawler would have been the least of our considerations for the top job, his handling of Melbourne's strategic development plan was one of the worst in Melbourne's history not to mention many of the policies he has pursued.
Melbourne needs a hard headed business person to drive the council, reduce costs and improve the City Council's efficiency.
It is way to early to make a judgement on the chosen candidate but hopefully she will not be a social development of the designer job set. There is a lot that needs to be done to restore the City Council to the top of the tree. The City Council is way too small and inbred. Ideally the new CEO should be looking at expanding the City boundaries and establishing a greater City of Melbourne.
The other issue that needs review is the Council's representative mandate.
The community is crying out for effective represetation and falsely placing the blame on lack of local representation on the current representative model. The problem is not so much the syructiure of the elected Council but more the issue of related to the direct election Lord Mayor and the policies, or more to the point lack of policies and the ability of the current City Councillors.
The City Council has virtually wasted the last three years and achieved very little under the stewardship of the former CEO, David Pitchford and John so. The Council needs to open up its committee structure and invite experts and local representatives to sit on the Council's statutory advisory committees. The current situation where all committees have Councilors only on them MUST be addressed.
Melbourne has not had an effective CEO since Elizabeth Proust and Andy Friend vacated the Council chambers.
Time will tell whether the City Council has made the right choice and if they new appointment is worth the high salary and generous bonuses paid.