In absence of Council, Minister changes how Canning is shaped and governed… On the positive side….

CanningAccountability image Steve Smith
Voice of reason: Commissioner Stephanie (Steve) Smith, Canning*

Canning is moving closer to a new start after years under administration!

Yes, Canning will be changed to a five ward, two councillor per ward local government area soon, although the Minister has yet to announce it (we just got the quiet word).  It isn’t necessary, but its a small matter.  We have other things to look forward to…

  • October will see the return of a democratically elected governance
  • First executive of the old regime moves on
  • Will CEO Lyn Russell’s contract be extended next year or not?

October will see a democratically elected council return to govern

Dismissed Commissioner Linton Reynolds and Chief Executive Officer Lyn Russell never supported appointing an Advisory Panel of Community Members, to ensure the community had a range of people broadly knowledgeable in local government matters to choose from when electing a council again.  However, a new if green council will need to develop quickly in order to keep escalating rates under control and that’s good news for all!

The first of the executives present throughout Canning’s problem era is moving on

Andrew Sharpe, former Acting CEO of Canning although not appointed subsequently, is leaving his long-term position as Director of Corporate Services.

Mr Sharpe is responsible for the debacle of a ward boundary and councillor representation review that has just taken place, which saw the City prematurely announce outcomes to rush through its preferred options to the Local Government Advisory Board (why we’ve ended up with an unnecessary amount of change to our City).

At this time, CanningAccountability and the many members of the community who have contacted us on this subject, would like to salute our Lady Commissioner, Ms Stephanie (Steve) Smith, for her passionate efforts on the community’s behalf to try to get Commissioners Cole and Gray to endorse the City’s recommendations in principle only, until the review was properly concluded.  This would have seen the City of Canning re-poll the public based on a huge community groundswell away from the City’s options, to endorse a three ward option instead.

Ms Smith, of course, is an esteemed expert in local government, having written books on the subject, long acted as a consultant to the Dept of Local Government & Communities and WA Local Govt Association, and is the only Commissioner with any experience currently at Canning, having been selected three times now to administer cities in the absence of a council.

Two versions of what Ms Smith went in to bat with, on the community’s behalf, at the Special Council Meeting called on 18 May 2015 to pass the review recommendations HERE

Note:  the community unexpectedly embraced the three ward option when they realised it would mean only small changes to Canning’s current form, in fact a return to its status of eight years ago temporarily whilst still meeting Nicholson Ward’s need for more elected representation – thus leaving the bigger changes to a democratically elected council to determine, as Canning’s future revealed itself over time.

Now the City is wasting time and money running a second survey through the community, when its obvious the LGAB has already made it decision (which the City was banking on).  Any outcome now won’t have relevance at the elections in October.  Poor management, planning and governance are the causes of this now unnecessary cost, and there are more than a few indicators the City was nervous its wishes might not get through as the community tires of being run by staff and commissioners.

Either way, the community is unlikely to bother putting in a strong showing for this second review, when it will amount to nothing.

Chief Executive Officer Lyn Russell is unlikely to be kept on after her contract expires next year?

The number of times the question has been asked “when is the CEO’s contract up?”….

That should save the community some money!  We’ll be discussing this further soon.

*Ms Smith’s photograph taken from City of Canning website, with thanks


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