Working with staff & the CEO

To achieve maximum results for the community, a council needs a good working relationship between councillors and management.

Working with staff

While councillors determine policy directions for the municipality, they also need to rely on advice from council staff.

Councillors evaluate options and assess the impact of decisions before deciding what they consider to be in the community's best interest. Council staff then implement the policies and decisions determined by the council.

Understanding the differences in roles and functions helps to establish a trusting and professional working relationship between councillors and staff.

It's important that the councils' goals are shared by councillors and senior management.

Working with the CEO

The role of the chief executive officer (CEO) is defined in the Local Government Act 1989.

The CEO role is to:

  • establish and maintain an appropriate organisational structure for the council
  • ensure that council's decisions are implemented without undue delay
  • manage council's day-to-day operations in accordance with the council plan
  • develop, adopt and disseminate a code of conduct for council staff
  • provide timely advice to the council
  • ensure that the council receives timely and reliable advice about its legal obligations under the LG Act and any other Act
  • support the mayor in the performance of his or her role
  • carry out the council's responsibilities as a deemed employer with respect to councillors, as deemed workers, which arise under or with respect to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 or the Workplace Injury and Rehabilitation Compensation Act 2013
  • perform any other function or duty of the CEO specified in the LG Act or any other Act.

The CEO may appoint as many members of council staff as is required to enable the functions under the LG Act or any other Act to be carried out, and to enable the CEO to carry out his or her functions.

The CEO is responsible for appointing, directing, managing and dismissing council staff and for all other issues that relate to staffing.

The CEO is responsible for managing interactions between council staff and councillors, including by ensuring that appropriate policies, practices and protocols are in place to define arrangements for interactions between council staff and councillors.

Council appoints the CEO, negotiates his or her contractual obligations, and manages and reviews his or her performance.

While the separation of policy-making and day-to-day management is important, it should be managed sensitively so that a high level of trust is formed between the councillors and CEO. This ensures that a good working relationship is established.