Rockingham Mayor backs acting CEO Bob Jeans

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
File image. City of Rockingham acting chief executive Bob Jeans, Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin and Mayor Barry Sammels.
Camera IconFile image. City of Rockingham acting chief executive Bob Jeans, Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin and Mayor Barry Sammels. Credit: Aidan Boyham

City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels has backed acting chief executive Bob Jeans after residents raised a number of questions about his performance in the wake of recent social media posts by a councillor.

Mr Sammels moved to clarified the City’s position on councillors’ use of social media following a Facebook post by Baldivis councillor Matthew Whitfield that suggested his social media use had ruffled feathers at the City and led to him being referred to the Local Government Standards Panel.

He said the City fully supported “openness, transparency, and accountability” but that it must act according to relevant legislation requiring certain matters to be kept confidential.

Mr Sammels said the City did not oppose councillors using social media to interact with the community, but said the City did not want to engage in a public debate about its interactions with particular councillors.

“Any councillor’s decision to remove their social media presence is theirs alone; the City has not made any demands on any councillors to do so,” he said.

“The City does expect that all councillors are mindful of their responsibilities under the City’s Code of Conduct and the Local Government (Rules of Conduct) Regulations 2007... and expects that all information posted on social media by councillors is factually correct.

“I consider that the acting CEO has performed his role admirably and I consider this view is shared by the majority of councillors,” he said.

The City is now preparing a social media policy for councillors, potentially based on the model released by the WA Local Government Association, which aims to ensure elected members are aware of their responsibilities to provide professional and accurate representation of their local government.

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