Mt Magnet CEO Kelvin Matthews resigns to start new role in Meekatharra in November
While his time as Shire of Mount Magnet chief executive has been anything but easy, Kelvin Matthews has been touted as a “resilient” leader who knows how to get the job done.
Mr Matthews gave notice to the Shire in May that he would not be seeking to extend his contract after its expiry in October, officially advising of his resignation last month.
However, he is not leaving the region, having signed a contract with the Shire of Meekatharra last week to replace retiring CEO of 15 years Roy McClymont in November.
Meekatharra president Harvey Nichols said Mr Matthews stood out as the ideal candidate for the top job.
“We have a few big projects going on, so we wanted someone with a fair bit of experience,” he said.
The announcement comes months after tensions between the local government and a handful of disgruntled Mt Magnet residents came to a head.
The Midwest Times in May spoke to about a dozen residents, who said they had lost faith in the Shire after a series of incidents including a councillor being voted off the council, a staff restructuring and controversy over the installation of a reconciliation wall.
About 75 critical questions or statements have been put to the Shire at council meetings since December 2019, with about half lodged by two individuals.
Mr Matthews and Shire president Jorgen Jensen have acted on or defended each complaint, labelling them “vexatious”, and deny being intimidating at council meetings.
He is not afraid to grab things with both hands and make things happen.
“Kelvin is fairly resilient and he did have the support of the council,” he said. “I’m sure it certainly wasn’t pleasant at times for him, but I don’t think it was a major contributing factor (to his resignation).”
Cr Jensen described the current relationship between the Shire and community as “pretty good”, but said “some challenges” remained.
“The bulk of the people were happy with the way things were travelling; there were just a couple that weren’t and there wasn’t anything I could do to change their opinions,” he said.
Mr Jensen said the council was “very happy” with Mr Matthews’ performance over the past four years, with the chief executive “ably overseeing the update of the cemetery management plan, the COVID-19 pandemic and relations with mining companies.”
“He is not afraid to grab things with both hands and make things happen.”
Mr Matthews could not bereached for comment by print deadline.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails