City of Kalamunda CEO retains top job as CCC contact with council confirmed

Kalamunda Mayor John Giardina and CEO Rhonda Hardy in May with plans for the  Forrestfield North Residential Precinct. Picture: David Baylis d482708
Kalamunda Mayor John Giardina and CEO Rhonda Hardy in May with plans for the Forrestfield North Residential Precinct. Picture: David Baylis d482708

OUSTED City of Kalamunda chief executive Rhonda Hardy has survived a heated special council meeting tonight to retain the top job.

Councillors voted unanimously to rescind a Tuesday night council meeting motion which sought to terminate her employment, a move that would have cost ratepayers $300,000.

A large turnout of community and staff members were present to support Ms Hardy as councillors considered a report on the matter.

It was confirmed by a city officer that the Corruption and Crime Commission had contacted the City over the matter that saw Ms Hardy sacked from her role late Tuesday night with no reasons given publicly.

It was also revealed councillors terminated Ms Hardy’s contract at the council meeting without any legal advice from the city executive or general counsel Simon Di Rosso.

Further advice showed the decision was not compliant with the Local Government Regulations 1996 because it did not provide written reasons for its decision to terminate Ms Hardy’s contract.

The regulations require written reasons for each decision made at a meeting that is significantly different from the written recommendation of a committee or employee.

Additionally the decision did not accord with the principles of merit, equity or fairness in the Local Government Act.

Addressing the council Ms Hardy said she felt she had served the Kalamunda community to the very best of her abilities.

“It truly saddens me to think my last battle is with my council of whom I have been a loyal and hardworking servant,” she said.

“In 2011 when I came to the City as the chief financial controller the City was in a dire financial predicament and I actively worked to conservatively rebuild the finances.

“This year the external audit could not find one issue with the management of the city.

“This is very rare to achieve such a result in the imperfect world we live in.

“I see there is no reason why we can’t resolve our issues in a professional manner for those councillors who have perceived issues. “I am open to learning and I need open and transparent communication to be enabled to do my job.

“I ask that you please don’t carry petty jealousies and rise to the greater common good for the sake of your beautiful community and the amazing staff that serve this community.”

At the meeting Mayor John Giardina said there had been disquiet over the chief executive’s performance “for some time”.

“I told the CEO that if there were seven councillors with concerns over her performance I’d come knocking on her door,” he said.

“I have no doubt she has done good work, but I have no doubt there are CEOs who can do what Ms Hardy does and better.”

Cr Giardina confirmed the council was still willing and wanting to work with the CEO.

“I look forward to working with the CEO in a constructive way for our community,” he said.

Councillors also passed a motion requesting the CEO re-present the Chief Executive Officers Performance Review Report and supporting key performances indicators by April 15, 2019. The resolution was carried unanimously.