In an historic move, the Shires of Murray and Waroona have agreed to take their already successful resource-sharing arrangements to a higher level with the decision by both Councils to appoint a joint Chief Executive Officer.
Both Shires already share Information Technology and Environmental Health functions and Ranger Services.
Further resource sharing opportunities have been a regular topic of discussion and with the retirement of the Waroona CEO later in 2019, both Councils have worked closely to expand resource sharing.
Shire President of Waroona, Cr. Mike Walmsley said that when long-serving CEO Ian Curley recently announced his retirement, it was an opportunity to explore how additional resource sharing could benefit both districts.
“Through the significant trust that has grown through the current resource-sharing arrangements, we have come to an agreement to go to the next level and share the CEO.
“This is new territory, but I feel that not only will there be significant salary savings through sharing a CEO but it will also allow a more strategic and higher-level view of where we can jointly benefit with Murray,” Cr. Walmsley said.
Shire of Murray Shire President Cr. David Bolt agreed that a collective approach would make both organisations and both communities stronger in the long-term. However, there will be no governance structural changes in terms of elected member representation to each community or organisationally.
“While there is significant immediate cost savings in wages and overheads through this decision, the objective is to seek out how and where we can increase sharing arrangements for better service delivery and outcomes for the community and how we can increase collaboration.
“The importance of retaining local decision making at both Waroona and Murray is important, and that will not change. However, we will see real benefits through joint procurement, streamlined processes, the creation of a stronger political voice and realising economies of scale.
“Those benefits can be better realised through one Chief Executive Officer fostering a consistent approach to service delivery.
“I am also very excited about the economic development benefits that can be explored through a joint approach, such as agricultural and industry development, tourism promotion and trails development, just to name a few,” Cr. Bolt said.
The proposal was endorsed by both Councils at individual Special Council meetings held on 13 August with current Shire of Murray CEO Mr. Dean Unsworth as joint Murray-Waroona CEO. Part of the agreement is that the CEO will spend time in both Shire offices each day to ensure there is the required availability to undertake this role effectively.
Waroona President Cr. Walmsley stated that Mr Unsworth has twenty years of senior experience in local government and knows the Peel region and Waroona very well.
“Dean has helped Murray achieve many positive outcomes in his twelve years as CEO. Some of those changes have already benefited Waroona through the resource-sharing initiatives that are reaping joint benefits between the two Shires.
“He is very aware of the challenges ahead, but with the knowledge he has of Waroona and the Peel region I am confident he will hit the ground running and instil positive change to our organisation and the district,” Cr. Walmsley said.
Both Shire Presidents stated that a joint Resource-Sharing Committee will meet at least every quarter and will help guide the sharing arrangement and review the performance of the project.
Waroona Shire President Cr. Walmsley paid tribute to outgoing CEO Ian Curley for his service to the Waroona community.
“On behalf of the Waroona Council and community, I would personally like to thank Ian for his dedicated service over the past 15 years,” Cr. Walmsley said.
The new arrangement in sharing the CEO will commence in the coming months.