Inner West Independent

Calls for gender balance on recruitment panel

Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz (far right) attends an International Women's Day march in Sydney. Photo: Facebook

By KATE RAFFERTY

Inner West Councillors have expressed concern about a lack of gender representation on the next General Manager recruitment panel, voted through in a council meeting on Tuesday 10 November.

“We have a majority of female councillors in council, eight versus seven, yet we couldn’t get a majority of councillors to vote for a female panel member,” said Independent Councillor John Stamolis.

“It’s appalling.”

The recruitment panel was passed with three male councillors and only one female on-board.

Councillors on the panel include Mayor Darcy Byrne, Deputy Mayor Victor Macri, Greens Councillor Colin Hesse and Liberal Councillor Vittoria Raciti.

Of the two female councillors put forward, Greens Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz and Councillor Vittoria Raciti, neither received a majority vote. Councillor Raciti was voted through only on the basis of a casting vote used by chairperson and Mayor Darcy Byrne.

Councillor Stamolis said the meeting’s resolution raises concerns about how the Inner West Council puts policy into practice.

“We have a clear policy on gender, yet we don’t seem to be demonstrating it,” he said.

The panel will decide on the next chief executive officer for the Inner West Council, following the departure of former Infrastructure Australia boss Michael Deegan in October.

A fresh perspective

In what’s been a volatile period for the Inner West Council, councillors hope the recruitment of an appropriate CEO will bring some stability.

“This will be our fourth General Manager for the Inner West Council, and it would be good that in recruiting a new general manager we have a balance of men and women,” says Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz.

“It’s an indicator that men and women are equally welcome at this organisation” she said.

Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz says gender representation on any recruitment panel is good practice. But, Greens Councillor Colin Hesse, who was voted onto the panel over Councillor Da Cruz says the Greens and the Inner West Council have already shown a commitment to the issue.

“This is the second selection panel for General Manager for the Inner West Council.

“The previous nominee put forward by the Greens was a women, it just so happens that the Greens chose to nominate me this time round.”

Yet Councillor Stamolis says the issue of equal representation affects all levels of government in serious ways and must be addressed promptly.

“I think it was so obvious this time that you noticed it straight away.”

“It can’t be ignored, that’s why I’m pointing it out. If things continue on this way I think I and our community would be concerned for our council’s gender priorities” he said.

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