A former Shire president has taken aim at sitting councillor Brian Daniel for his dissent during the recent contract extension for the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River’s chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown. The first-term councillor, who also confirmed he would seek re-election this October, moved a change to the CEO’s contract extension on June 14 and also updated a key performance indicator, but then voted against the amended motion. Cr Daniel’s sole vote against the approval stemmed from long-running concerns KPIs at the Shire lacked rigour and tangible outcomes. Ex-president Pam Townshend took issue with Cr Daniel’s decision, as reported in the Times last week, saying it risked undermining Ms Addison-Brown’s “confidence and trust in her employers”. She also suggested Cr Daniel was “grandstanding” ahead of October’s election. “Few ratepayers understand the role of council with respect to the employment of the Shire CEO,” Ms Townshend said. “The council of seven elected representatives hire the CEO, and the CEO recruits and manages all the Shire employees.” Ms Addison-Brown was hired under Ms Townshend’s watch in 2018 after a recruitment drive sparked by the retirement of veteran chief Gary Evershed. “Putting the KPIs together and agreeing on them to arrive at a consensus is a big task and I commend the council for the work they have done over the last few months,” Ms Townshend said. “What a pity Cr Daniel took it upon himself . . . to vote against the consensus decision that he had been part of negotiating.” Ms Townshend said the chief’s KPIs were integral to the Shire’s community strategic plan and arrived at through consultation. “Campaigning on ideas and policies is important,” the former president said. “Playing around with the confidence of your employee, and by extension, all the Shire employees, is not OK.” However, Cr Daniel this week reiterated that he’d tried bolstering the CEO’s KPIs since 2019 without much success. He was dissatisfied with the process that saw former acting chief executive Graeme Davis engaged as a consultant, despite the ex-City of Mandurah deputy chief never holding the top job full-time. “It was this same approach during the discussions on the KPIs this time around which made me decide enough’s enough,” Cr Daniel said. “I had also recommended a number of inclusions, but these were not accepted. “I’m pretty much disengaged, not from the community, but from giving my inputs. “When you raise issues (as a councillor), they just get ignored.” Furthermore, Cr Daniel was already on record saying he wanted to improve the Shire’s work culture to meet community expectation and demonstrate ratepayers’ value for money. The councillor also questioned the adequacy of Ms Townshend’s experience in setting KPIs given his long history as a CEO in the pharmaceutical industry. His aim was to retool the Shire’s KPIs to drive “efficiencies, productivity and engagement”. Shire president Paula Cristoffanini also defended the rigour around setting chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown’s key performance indicators, which triggered Cr Daniel’s initial complaints, with the KPIs also available to ratepayers online. “The process to develop the CEO’s KPIs was very thorough and councillors had opportunities to contribute to it at every stage including, ultimately, at the council meeting of June 14, 2023,” she said. Areas criticised by Cr Daniel were already reflected in the latest KPIs, including making it easier for customers to interact, improving efficiency and effectiveness, and being “a role model in sustainability including commencing to mainstream biodiversity considerations”.