TWO of the Denmark Shire council’s senior personnel have coincidentally announced their resignations in the interests of advancing their respective careers.
CEO Bill Parker’s resignation comes three years into a five-year contract.
Deputy shire president Peter Caron announced that he would resign in October to take up a job overseas.
Mr Parker (39) will take up a position as general manager of corporate services with the City of Perth on October 21.
His resignation has sent ripples through the Denmark community, where he is a popular figure on the sporting field as well as a key presence at council meetings. He is quick to point out that his imminent departure is not related to council issues. “The position in Perth came up, and I saw it as a great opportunity for advancement,” Mr Parker said. “Besides, one of my three boys already lives in Perth, and the two younger ones have indicated that they want to pursue tertiary studies when they leave school, so the time is right for my family to make the big move.”
Under Mr Parker’s leadership a sweeping compliance framework program has been introduced for the first time in the shire’s history. The foundational, forward-looking program links a series of strategic documents which reflect and adapt to the community’s changing needs and aspirations over time, simplifying decision-making into the future. Leading local governments have been adopting the compliance framework approach since the early 2000s, even though it was not legislated until 2008. Mr Parker said that the introduction and implementation of the program represented the high point of his professional contribution to Denmark. “It’s a challenging process, because you’re changing the whole culture of your business – and that takes time, energy and relearning, by council, staff and the community. “People can come and go but the processes remain the same – though quite often you’re not around to see your work bear fruit.” He expects the plans to
be completed very soon – though possibly not all in time for council’s special budget meeting on July 30.
As for his replacement, Mr Parker says he will suggest to council that it defer appointing a new CEO until after local government elections in October. This would allow new councillors time to settle into their roles without the added pressure of a new CEO also finding his or her way around. ”We have the capacity within the organisation to provide an acting CEO until the time comes to advertise the position,” he said.
The opportunity to live and work in Denmark had been wonderful, personally and professionally. In partnership with the elected group, staff had built a great team – highly motivated and genuinely wanting to make Denmark a better place to live. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with such a committed group of people, and it’s been great to be part of the Denmark community,” he said.
Shire president Ceinwen Gearon said that losing two key team members at the same time was regrettable, but it reflected the quality of the individuals involved. Teamwork and accord between council and administration was at the highest level for many years. Cr Caron agreed, saying that councillors and staff were ‘well aligned’. “We have a clear strategic direction and play our parts in working towards the objectives that the community has set for us,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Denmark Ratepayers and Residents Association wished Mr Parker well in his new role. Mr Parker had generously attended and answered questions at all the association’s general meetings during his time here.