Hands full after CEO sacking

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianMidwest Times
Paul Omodei
Camera IconPaul Omodei Credit: Tari Jeffers

With no chief executive, council minutes not signed off, and an outstanding worker’s compensation case, new Perenjori Shire Commissioner Paul Omodei has reported an “interesting” first week acting in place of the sacked council.

While ministers for local government frequently dismiss councils for misconduct, and he has been a commissioner before, he said Perenjori’s case had several unusual circumstances.

“The guy who was the CEO has been sacked by the council,” he said. “My main objective is to get an acting CEO in there as quickly as I can.”

Mr Omodei said acting chief executive Joelene Dennis had left last Friday.

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Then he said there were urgent governance issues for which he needed to seek advice from the Department of Local Government and Communities to resolve them.

“We missed two meetings and there are a whole lot of minutes that haven’t been signed,” he said.

“How do I move and carry the minutes if I haven’t been at the meetings?”

The third matter Mr Omodei said he needed to address was Ivan Wells’ outstanding worker’s compensation case.

He said he suspected a lack of proper governance training had caused most of the council’s problems.

“I want to form a working group of people that are interested, and down the track run a mock council meeting,” he said.

“They can learn how to run a council meeting where councillors don’t get involved in operational matters.”

Mr Omodei said he was due to step down in 11 months for a new Perenjori council to be elected.

If the next council did not do a better job of governing the Shire, he said the State Government could step in and force an amalgamation with a neighbouring Shire.

In the meantime, Mr Omodei said he intended to reduce the number of councillors by two or three.

“They have got nine councillors for a town with 640 people,” he said.

“With all these wards they have got, you can win an election with 35 votes.”

Mr Omodei said his first council meeting would be open to the public.

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