CONGRATULATIONS: Mayor, Graeme Massey shakes CEO Ray Campling’s hand following the unanimous decision to reappoint him for a further term.
CONGRATULATIONS: Mayor, Graeme Massey shakes CEO Ray Campling’s hand following the unanimous decision to reappoint him for a further term.

A UNANIMOUS vote from Yarriambiack Shire Councillors has seen the re-appointment of Chief Executive Officer Ray Campling at the monthly council meeting on Wednesday.

Contract negotiations will now commence for a five year term for Mr Campling. The new term will commence on January 29, 2018.

Council previously advertised their intention to re-appoint the CEO and received several objections from various community groups including the Victorian Farmers Federation Warracknabeal Brim Branch, and the Warracknabeal Action Group.

Councillor Kylie Zanker led the discussion as to why council should keep Mr Campling as CEO. She spoke from a personal pre-written statement, in which she went in to bat for Mr Campling, compiling a list of the important things he has done while at the helm of the Yarriambiack Shire Council.

Cr Zanker’s full speech is below.

“Mr Ray Campling is unique, there are no questions about this. Our CEO in local government and professional circles is described as quirky. Along with dedicated, hard working, passionate,
strategic, fair, and motivated, just to name a few.”

“This decision has not come lightly and contrary to some public thoughts is not a knee jerk reaction to “just” reappoint.”

“The renewal of the CEO contract has been a discussion that councillors have had on the agenda for over the last six months with much discussion and deliberation over the strategic direction of our municipality and how that looks.”

“I can assure everyone in our chambers that Ray Campling met his performance criteria and was benchmarked against other local government CEOs with regard to this.”

“So why advertise when we have an experienced CEO who is meeting his KPIs? It seems ludicrous.”

“The cost to recruit a new CEO are absorbently high, the ball park figure being up to 80k with a recruitment agency.”

“When looking at “who” is around to apply with the experience we need, quite frankly the numbers are rather low.”

“Local government CEO and managers have been leaving the sector en-masse and over the last two years in excess of 24 CEOs and corporate managers have moved to private enterprise. This is believed to be due to rate capping, cost and service shifting, volatile nature of the sector etc.”

“Over the last few years our very own neighbouring councils have had long periods where they have had no CEO, had to appoint a CEO who drives up from Melbourne on Monday, works threedays and then drives back Friday.”

“Or have had to fill the position with a contract person at massive expense or with a younger inexperienced manager cutting their teeth on the corporate ladder with little experience, no passion and who uses the shire as a stepping stone to a bigger and better role.”

“In my mind, advertising the position when due diligence had been undertaken, and when we were already confident that we have an experienced CEO would indeed just be wasting money, which isn’t effective governance.”

“These funds could be spent so much better on roads, aged care service, early childhood, paths, infrastructure, community minded projects. The list is endless.”

“So when I hear and read our community likening myself and my fellow councillors to other municipalities such as Ararat I am sickened.”

“Am I, or my fellow councillors, guilty of bad governance. My answer is no.”

“I can tell you what I am guilty of. I’m guilty of following the local government act and lawfully reappointing a skilled and experienced CEO, researching, engaging with the MAV, investigating the market, scaffolding (measuring or ranking) our CEO against other local government CEOs and for deliberating and weighing up this information before making a decision that I believe is for the betterment of our municipality.”

“Ray has the experience, skill and understands the challenges of rate capping, rural councils and uses this for the betterment of our community.”

“He is an active member of the rate capping advisory panel, advocating for more money from the taxation dollar to be distributed to local government, he speaks at MAV conferences, mentors
younger/new CEOs and is highly regarded within the sector.”

“I trust that this reassures our community. I vote to reappoint our CEO in line with good governance and believe he holds the necessary skill for the role.”

“If any ratepayers wish to discuss this matter or any other with me further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”


Councillor Shane Roberts echoed Cr Zanker’s statement adding, “The decision to re-appoint Ray was not made lightly. Ray is someone who is involved in the community and most are happy with him in the role as CEO.”

“I worked at one stage years
ago within the Yarriambiack
Shire, well before I came
into the councillor role, and
the morale of the shire was
low under the leadership of
a different CEO,” Cr Roberts

“Ray is held in high regard and is well respected, not just in our shire, but around the state and possibly further afield.”

“It would be a big risk to advertise the position as it means we could lose Ray. $80,000 is a lot of money to spend when we’re happy with the person already in the role.”

“The money also can’t really be spared from what is already a tight budget.”

“We did receive several phonecalls and letters from the community objecting to our decision, and we have listened to those concerns, but we feel we have the right man in the job.”

Councillor Jean Wise said,

“I was on council when we first appointed Ray. He followed on from a bad situation and turned it around for us.”

“He was a novice, but has since grown with the position and does a wonderful job in the role as CEO. I feel he is
the right man for the job,” Cr Wise said.

Councillor Corinne Heintze said,

“Ray is a kind man. When I started in the role as councillor, he helped me with any issues I was facing.”

“He never got tired of me asking him questions, and that’s someone I want in the role. Someone who is there for everyone within the community,” Cr Heintze said.

Mayor Graeme Massey said,

“This isn’t just something we cooked up overnight. This process has been exhaustive. A lot of thinking has gone into this and I believe Ray is the right man for the job.”

Before the councillors voted, Victorian Farmers Federation Warracknabeal Brim Branch President,

David Drage, spoke of his concerns regarding the re-appointment.

“The budget for council is tight, I can understand that. But a cost of $80,000 is minimal when compared to what we might get in the job instead,” Mr Drage said.

“The wider community’s perspective is different to the councillors on this occasion and I don’t think enough thought has been put into this decision at all,” he said.

“Yes, Ray has met his KPI’s, which is a good thing to see, but what if there’s someone better out there?”

Other concerned members of the community were also present at the meeting.

Mayor Massey said,

“We have taken all issues and concerns on board and we have moved this decision out of the closed session into an open session so the public can see what we do and what the decision is.”

Councillor Kylie Zanker ended with the following statement,

“We all need to work together to create the best shire we can and we hope the community continue to do this with us.”

After the vote, with all five councillors present, along with the Mayor, voting unanimously to re-appoint Mr Campling, he re-entered the chambers and after hearing the result said the following.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence,” Mr Campling said.

“I am proud of what I’ve achieved in this shire. But not just that, what we’ve all managed to achieve together through the support we give each other,” he said.

“I love the community and can’t wait to get back in and continue what we’re doing.”

“I’m looking forward to the next five years. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, but I also can’t wait to see what else we can do as we can’t rest on our laurels.”