Former Darebin CEO to take over at Yarra City

Updated March 21 2022 - 1:12pm, first published March 15 2022 - 12:00am
Yarra City appoints new chief executive
Yarra City appoints new chief executive

The troubled Yarra City Council has appointed a new chief executive to fill the void created by the resignation late last year of long-standing CEO Vijaya Vaidyanath.

Mayor Sophie Wade announced the appointment in mid-March of Ms Sue Wilkinson for a five-year term, taking over from Chris Leivers who had served as Acting CEO of the Green-dominated council since December.

Yarra City remains under the supervision of a state government-appointed monitor after the divided council took four attempts to elect a mayor and a series of decisions that resulted in wide criticism and policy reversals.

These included a bid to introduce up to a tenfold increase in fees for local clubs to use sporting grounds, a move to charge business up to $5000 to convert car parking spaces to open-air dining and a plan to pay $70,000 to a "climate emergency" artist for six months.

The election of a mayor was further complicated by the absence of Greens councillor Anab Mohamud, who was on leave until a court case over the alleged assault of a trans woman had been resolved.

Ms Wilkinson has extensive experience within the local government sector and has been serving as the chief executive of Darebin Council, itself wracked with divisions and infighting among Labor-aligned independents and Greens and other councillors that have formed a Green-aligned bloc.

The dysfunctionality at Darebin City has attracted the attention of Local Government Minister Shaun Leane who says he is "keeping an eye" on the situation, so for Ms Wilkinson Yarra City will prove to be a familiar environment.

Ms Wilkinson also has been CEO at Colac Otway Shire and has worked in senior roles at Monash and Port Phillip councils.

Ms Vaidyanath was Yarra City CEO for 10 years and left to become the inaugural chief executive of Homes Melbourne at the City of Melbourne. Ms Wilkinson will take up her appointment at the end of June.


Ian Moore


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