The role of the general manager is to:
- be responsible for the day-to-day operations and affairs of the council;
- appoint, direct and dismiss employees;
- manage strategic planning processes and annual reporting;
- prepare the council’s estimates;
- ensure council polices are implemented;
- liaise with the mayor;
- manage the resources and assets of the council;
- manage the grey area of strategic versus operational responsibilities;
- be responsive to the needs and views of all elected members;
- have a clear understanding of responsibilities and requirements under the Local Government Act; and
- support the council with policies and procedures.
An effective general manager will promote a culture of good governance and show commitment to the characteristics of good governance. In a practical sense, general managers can promote good governance by:
- regularly providing elected members with the information they need to fulfil their roles;
- ensuring that advice from the administration considers the political context;
- ensuring sufficient resources are set aside to implement the policies and decisions made by the council;
- ensuring that council officers and elected members understand the structure of local government and their roles in it;
- providing support to the mayor and elected members when dealing with councillor conduct issues;
- helping to ensure that all elected members have equal access to information and resources;
- providing appropriate support for good decision making processes, such as undertaking appropriate community engagement and timely provision of meeting papers;
- developing processes for the major strategic planning exercises, which ensure elected members have plenty of opportunities for input;
- ensuring that council officers are given appropriate education and training relating to ethical conduct, as required in the general manager’s role as a Principal Officer under the Integrity Commission Act 2009;
- taking leadership in modelling good governance; and
- recognising that elected members have a ‘representation’ role and that they will be advocating for individuals or communities at different times.
The role of the general manager is defined in section 62 of the Local Government Act.
For further detail refer to the Role of the General Manager sheet and General Manager Appointments and Contracts information sheet.