City of Stirling upgrades CEO car despite criticism

City of Stirling chief executive Stuart Jardine.
City of Stirling chief executive Stuart Jardine.

THE City of Stirling has spent $80,000 on a car for its chief executive despite previous criticism for buying a $65,000 Mercedes Benz.

Stuart Jardine and then Stirling mayor Giovanni Italiano came under fire in 2015, including from former premier Colin Barnett, for each driving the luxury brand car.

Mayor Mark Irwin opted to use his private vehicle when he took office in October 2017 and the City sold both cars early this year.

It replaced Mr Jardine’s car as per his contract and bought an $80,000 Toyota Prado with add-ons, but did not comment on why the vehicle was chosen.

Under the chief executive’s contract, which was renewed in 2016 for five years, his private use of the car had a nominal value of $15,000.

A spokeswoman said this was calculated on an “annual usage fee rather than the purchase price”.

Mr Jardine is recognised as a ‘preserved CEO’ under the Local Government Salaries and Allowances Act, allowing remuneration to be above what is prescribed because he was appointed before October 19, 2011.

Wanneroo and Cockburn also have preserved chief executives.

His 2017-18 remuneration package is $392,212, comprising $325,379 base salary, superannuation and contribution, car use value and professional membership fees, which corporate services director Ingrid Hawkins said was comparable to most metropolitan chief executives.

Under the Act, remuneration for chief executives of band one councils – including Stirling, Wanneroo, Joondalup and Bayswater – is from $247,896 to $375,774.

Ms Hawkins said the vehicle component of the contract met the Act requirements as it was part of the City’s fleet and not his personal vehicle.

“To achieve best value for ratepayers, all vehicles across the City’s fleet are changed over every two years or at 40,000km,” she said.

“The CEO manages the largest council in WA and is remunerated accordingly.”

Wanneroo chief executive Daniel Simms’s remuneration is within the $360,000-$369,999 salary band, Joondalup’s Garry Hunt’s is at the band maximum of $375,774 and Bayswater chief executive Andrew Brien is on a $319,625 package.

At the October 16 Stirling Council meeting, councillors voted 8-3 to accept the chief executive’s 2017-18 performance review report.