Hunt’s on for new councillor

p Noel Dyson

A POTENTIALLY lucrative career in consulting awaits Perth City Council chief executive officer Garry Hunt when his council successor is finally announced.

Mr Hunt has formed Governance Management Systems and already the company has won a multi-million dollar Federal Government aid contract.

The other three directors of GMS are Edith Cowan University law lecturer Tim Houweling, Canadian academic Jeffrey Pfeifer and security expert Michael Coe.

The company won the contract alongside Brisbane City Enterprise to offer governance services to local governments in South Africa.

It is understood similar contracts in Vietnam and China could be in the offing.

Mr Hunt said the company would focus on sustainable governance – “something brought into focus by recent corporate collapses such as HIH”.

“A background in local government means I’m well versed in systems and due process and why you need to follow them,” he said.

“My interest in this came

from my role as the vice-president of the International City

County Management Association.”

The Washington DC-based organisation has been assisting local government groups in several countries in South America.

Council has received applications from 54 candidates for Mr Hunt’s job.

That has been reduced to a short list of 19 candidates, which will be cut further to 10.

Councillors will then interview the remaining candidates.

It is understood 11 of the remaining 19 candidates are from the eastern states.

Mr Hunt has been the council’s CEO for the past eight years. During that time he was been responsible for breaking up and remaking a city.

His first job as CEO was to implement the break up of the old Perth City Council that created the new smaller Perth City Council and the Towns of Victoria Park, Cambridge and Vincent.

Mr Hunt said he had only planned to stay for five years but later agreed to a two-year extension when that initial contract ended.

He believes good negotiation skills and the ability to be a generalist are essentials for the job.

Indeed, his negotiation approach has won him praise from other CBD stakeholders.

Property Council of Australia WA executive director Joe Lenzo said that, from his organisation’s point of view, it had been an excellent relationship.

“Mr Hunt has always been ready to supply us with information and always ready to negotiate on issues – particularly those that could have potentially become nasty,” Mr Lenzo said.

“Even on contentious issues he was prepared to listen to our views.

“I think he played a pretty strong part as an adviser to the councillors.”

East Perth Redevelopment Authority chief executive officer Tony Morgan said he had enjoyed a “good and open working relationship” with Mr Hunt.

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass said Mr Hunt had contributed much to council in terms of his experience in local government.

“With Garry I always felt we had a CEO we could rely on for sound advice,” Dr Nattrass said.

“Whenever we dealt with contentious issues such as the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre car park deal, we knew we could always rely on his judgement.”

p See story page 13

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