19-17 The appointment and dismissal of senior staff

Category: Circular to Councils Status: Active
Circular Details: 19-17 / 14 August 2019 / A646898 Contact: Council Governance Team / 02 4428 4100
Previous Circular: Nil Attachments: Nil
Who should read this: General Managers/Councillors Action required: Information
PDF Version: Council Circular 19-17 – PDF

What’s new or changing

  • The purpose of this Circular is to remind councils of the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) relating to the appointment and dismissal of senior staff other than the general manager.

What this will mean for your council

  • Under section 338 of the Act, only general managers and the holders of positions determined by the council by resolution to be “senior staff” positions, may be employed under fixed term contracts of employment based on those approved by the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government (OLG) (senior staff contracts).
  • Council staff must not be employed under a senior staff contract unless the council has first determined by resolution that the position the staff member has been appointed to, is a “senior staff” position for the purposes of section 332 of the Act.
  • Under section 337 of the Act, general managers are also required to consult with the council before appointing or dismissing the holders of “senior staff” positions. While this need not necessarily occur at a formal council meeting, where consultation occurs outside of a council meeting, the requirement to consult with the “council” under section 337 necessarily requires that this be undertaken in a way that ensures that all members of the governing body are informed of the proposed decision and have the opportunity to provide comment.
  • When consulting the council in making a decision to appoint or dismiss a senior staff member, the general manager should consider the views of councillors. However, the ultimate decision to appoint or dismiss senior staff rests with the general manager and not the governing body. It is therefore not open to the governing body of the council to direct the general manager on the appointment or dismissal of senior (and any other) staff.

Key points

  • Under section 332 of the Act, the governing body of a council may, in consultation with the general manager, determine positions within a council’s organisation structure to be “senior staff” positions.
  • Under section 332, a council may not determine a position to be a “senior staff” position unless:
    • the responsibilities, skills and accountabilities of the position are generally equivalent to those applicable to the Executive Band of the Local Government (State) Award, and
    • the total remuneration package payable with respect to the position is equal to or greater than the minimum remuneration package (within the meaning of Part 3B of the Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Act 1975) payable with respect to senior executives whose positions are graded Band 1 under the Government Sector Employment Act 2013. As of 2018/19 this is $187,900.

Where to go for further information

  • For more information, contact the Council Governance Team by telephone on 02 4428 4100 or by email at

Tim Hurst
Deputy Secretary
Local Government, Planning and Policy