Perenjori Shire in Commissioner Paul Omodei’s hands

Geoff VivianMidwest Times
Commissioner Paul Omodei has taken over the functions of Perenjori Shire Council.
Camera IconCommissioner Paul Omodei has taken over the functions of Perenjori Shire Council. Credit: Tari Jeffers

Perenjori Shire is now run by a commissioner after Local Government Minister David Templeman dissolved the council last week and appointed Paul Omodei to take its place.

In an unusual turn of events, five councillors resigned on Monday, June 17, after themselves terminating Shire chief executive Paul Bawden’s contract the week before.

Mr Templeman had issued the council with a 21-day “show cause” notice to explain why it should not be sacked under the Local Government Act.

The deadline was Friday, June 21, but five councillors resigning at once changed matters because it left the council unable to make a quorum.

Mr Omodei was local government minister in Richard Court’s Liberal-National government, a former Shire of Cue commissioner, and currently serves as Manjimup Shire president.

He said he was due to meet the Minister and Department of Local Government on July 2.

“The first things that need to be done is to make sure the budget is set and then get to the bottom of all the issues and deal with them following what is best practice,” he said.

“I will be there for 11 months and, to all intents and purposes, I am the council.

“The first month will be pretty intensive and then I need to put in enough structure so a new council can be put into place on May 30, 2020.”

Mr Omodei said he expected to be commuting from Pemberton twice a month.

“When I was at Cue as a commissioner in 2012 I spent about 10 days a month up there,” he said.

“I think the most important thing will be to restore the confidence and the reputation of the council.”

Mr Omodei said he would be meeting community groups and hoped to meet several Perenjori Shire staff in Perth this week before going to Perenjori next week.

“It will be part of the job to gain the confidence of the community,” he said.

“I am not their enemy, I am their friend.”

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