Councillors, apart from Cr Deborah Novak, received and “noted” the general manager Ashley Lindsay’s 12-month performance review at last week’s September 24 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting.
Mayor Jim Simmons wrote in his mayoral minute that general managers of NSW councils “are made accountable … primarily through their contract of employment”.
The local government act requires the completion of “at least” annual reviews.
A performance review panel, comprised of councillors Simmons, Jason Kingsley (deputy mayor), Richie Williamson and Peter Ellem, completed the review.
“The Panel … assessed and rated each of the 25 performance measures,” Cr Simmons’ minute stated.
Councillors were provided confidential documents: one that summarised Mr Lindsay’s assessment and “the general manager’s report to the panel”.
“In undertaking the review, the panel gave consideration to the input provided to the mayor by two [un-named] councillors not included on the panel and it was agreed that the general manager’s performance met performance expectations for the year and the conditions of the general manager’s contract,” the mayor wrote.
The mayor congratulated Mr Lindsay “on his performance and achievements for the past year” and stated he “meets expectations”.
At the council meeting, Cr Karen Toms asked for a new copy of the review’s pages 21 and 22 because she could not read the small “unacceptable” print.
Mayor Simmons said it “should be [possible] to increase the size of the print and get it to councillors”.
Councillor Debrah Novak wanted to know why “three parts were missing”.
When she specifically asked about the whereabouts of the “staff survey”, Cr Richie Williamson successfully called a point of order, saying councillors were only considering a “motion to note the report”.
That’s where “debate starts and ends in my view”, he said.
Councillor Greg Clancy has consistently objected to the current appraisal system, however, he said he would vote in favour because the report “actually … showed a lot of positive outcomes”.
“But in the future I’d like to see a review of how the process occurs,” he said.
According to the Office of Local Government’s (OLG) ‘General Manager Remuneration Results’, the cost to council of employing Mr Lindsay was $272,366 for the 2017/18 financial year, which was below the average of $287,369 paid to general managers across the OLG Region North Coast.
The lowest salary was $235,880, the highest was $339,711.