|Administrator of Northern Beaches Council|
12 May 2016 – 26 September 2017
|Preceded by||New title|
|Succeeded by||Michael Regan (Mayor)|
|Administrator of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council|
27 February 2008 – 31 January 2009
|Preceded by||Rob Drew (Mayor)|
|Succeeded by||Garry Payne|
|Administrator of Warringah Council|
23 July 2003 – 13 September 2008
|Preceded by||Julie Sutton (Mayor)|
|Succeeded by||Michael Regan (Mayor)|
|Born||1950 (age 68–69)|
Dick Persson was originally from New South Wales, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and began work for the New South Wales Government, initially serving as assistant to the Deputy Premier Jack Ferguson, and from 1983 as a policy analyst (Deputy Director, policy and programs from 1987) of the Housing Commission of New South Wales and then the new Department of Housing from 1985 to 1988. In March 1988, Persson resigned from the NSW Public Service in order to headup the federal housing policy review initiated by Minister for Housing and Aged Care, Peter Staples. However, his appointment came under criticism from the Federal Leader of the Opposition, Alexander Downer, who took issue with Persson's Labor background.
In 1989 Persson was recruited to work for Government of Queensland by Minister for Housing and Local Government Tom Burns as Director-General of the Department of Housing and Local Government, which had been created by the amalgamation of the Public Works Department and the Local Government Department. Persson was brought into the government to push through the Goss Government's plans to initiate significant cultural change in the Queensland Public Service following the Bjelke-Petersen era and for the first time his department took on planning responsibilities (becoming the Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning). Persson continued serving in this position for the government of Wayne Goss under Minister Terry Mackenroth from 1992.
In early 1994 the Director-General of Queensland Health Department, Dr Peter Stanley, resigned suddenly leaving the job vacant and Persson was quickly moved into the position by mid-1994, even though he did not apply for the position, reporting to Minister for Health, Ken Hayward. His appointment, given his lack of medical policy expertise, was controversial, with the Queensland Branch of the Australian Medical Association taking particular issue. But Hayward defended him, noting "this whole exercise shows yet again the AMA's single purpose is to oppose the Government at every opportunity". He served until early 1995 when Persson took up a new position for the New South Wales Government of Bob Carr as Director-General of the new Department of Public Works and Services, replacing Ron Christie and reporting to Ministers Michael Knight, Carl Scully, Ron Dyer and Morris Iemma. In 1997 the Commonwealth Government of John Howard brought Persson in to serve as Director of the 1997-98 National Housing Policy Review. In 2001 Persson was elected to serve of the Council of The Women's College, University of Sydney, and he served until 2014.
Persson served as Director-General until the re-election of the Carr Government for a third term on 22 March 2003. This new government was marked by a significant reshuffle of ministerial portfolios and an extensive reorganisation of government departments. Persson's department was one of several that were abolished, with NSW Public Works moving into the new Department of Commerce on 2 April 2003 and Persson was placed on the unattached list.
Local government career
On 23 July 2003 the Minister for Local Government, Tony Kelly, following the release of the report of a public inquiry, headed by Emeritus Professor Maurice Daly, into the conduct and management of Warringah Council which revealed an extensive loss of trust between the council and its community, proclaimed that he had advised the Governor of NSW Marie Bashir to dismiss the council and appoint Persson as the Administrator of the council, with an initial term due to expire on 1 August 2005.
Coming in to administer one of the most complained-about councils in the state, Persson took on the role of transforming the administration of council through implementing good practice and the removal of conflicts of interests in council operations. This included in the matter of planning decisions and conflicts of interests of the former councillors, the extent of which Persson found particularly surprising: "When I arrived here I was given a security card like most of us have nowadays. I thought "Oh, that's for security reasons". I later found out it was to keep councillors out of some parts of the council, because they were literally standing over the shoulder of people reviewing development applications, asking them questions and putting pressure on them, possibly indirectly, certainly clearly." To combat the primary problem of a public lack of trust in the council, in 2003 Persson also appointed Dr John Warburton as the first Internal Ombudsman of the council.
In September 2004, Persson requested that his term as Administrator be extended beyond his initial term, which was scheduled to expire on 1 August 2005, citing a number of important projects yet to be completed and the continuing work establishing a change in culture amongst staff at the council. An extension was approved by the Governor until the Local Government Elections in September 2008, at which point a new council was elected with a new directly-elected mayor, Michael Regan, whose party ticket ran on a platform of council to be 'run as a board of directors'. Immediately before the elections, Persson made the unprecedented step of commenting on political affairs, expressing a desire for individuals involved with the former dismissed council not to stand for election and noted in particular one candidate as having been prominent in the disruptive nature of the previous council and was "the only candidate in Warringah whom I sincerely hope does not get elected."
In the 2006 Australia Day honours Persson was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for "service to the community, particularly through the development and implementation of new public policy initiatives relating to health, electronic government-wide business and provision of public housing, and to planning and local government."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
On 27 February 2008 the Minister for Local Government, Paul Lynch, dismissed the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and appointed Persson as the new administrator. The dismissal of Council was made after the mishandling of a project initiated in 2001 to build a cultural and entertainment centre, known to locals as the Glasshouse. The results of a public inquiry into the matter had reported back to the minister in February 2008 and had found that the Council had failed to provide appropriate financial and project management and had lost control of the costs, that the project costs had harmed the Council's ability to provide services and amenities to the community, and that the Council's "communications management strategies" had resulted in inadequate consultation with the public or appropriate regard to their concerns. Appointed for a four-year term, Minister Lynch noted that Persson had the task of "rebuilding the fundamentals of Council and to help re-unite the local community."
On 20 January 2009, administrator Dick Persson announced his decision to step down at the end of the month, citing the demands of being away from his Sydney home in Bronte for several days a week. He described the Glasshouse project as a "wrong decision" by the Council, attributing it to "woolly thinking with the best of intentions from people not experienced with planning and delivering major capital works." He was replaced in the role by Garry Payne, head of the Department of Local Government.
Later life and career
In 2010–2011 Persson was appointed a Special Adviser on local government rate-setting functions for the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and in 2009 was appointed a Director of the board of Bridge Housing Limited, a private-sector community housing provider in Sydney, which was renewed in 2014. On 29 August 2011, the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard, appointed Persson to serve as the Chair of the Board of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and his term lasted until the 21 August 2014. Persson is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM) and a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute (FAPI).
Northern Beaches Council
In May 2016, with the release of the Local Government (Council Amalgamations) Proclamation 2016, Persson was announced as the Administrator of the new Northern Beaches Council, which comprises the former local government areas of Manly, Pittwater and Warringah. As administrator, Persson directed the implementation of functions of the combined councils into one and noted shortly before the September 2017 election that "I believe the integration of the three previous councils into one Northern Beaches Council is on track to become the benchmark in terms of performance. This is largely due to the skill and hard work of our Council staff and managers." Persson released a report to council in September 2017 entitled "Stronger Together: Administrator's Report to the Community", which detailed the achievements of the new council since the May 2016 proclamation. Persson remained as administrator until the election of the new mayor on 26 September 2017.
- "APPOINTMENTS ON PROBATION". Government Gazette Of The State Of New South Wales (13). New South Wales, Australia. 27 January 1984. p. 464. Retrieved 20 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "PUBLIC SERVICE ACT APPOINTMENTS". Government Gazette Of The State Of New South Wales (132). New South Wales, Australia. 14 August 1987. p. 4647. Retrieved 20 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "New adviser 'Labor mate'". The Canberra Times. 63, (19, 490). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 16 February 1989. p. 10. Retrieved 13 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "Nationals set stage for further recriminations". The Canberra Times. 64, (19, 794). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 18 December 1989. p. 9. Retrieved 13 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "Interview: Terry Hogan" (audio). Queensland Speaks. Centre for the Government of Queensland. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Interview: Terry Mackenroth" (audio). Queensland Speaks. Centre for the Government of Queensland. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- Wanna, John (1994). "Political Chronicles - Queensland" (PDF). Australian Journal of Politics and History. University of Queensland Press. 40 (3): 392.
- "Health chief 'has no experience'". The Canberra Times. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 19 June 1994. p. 2. Retrieved 13 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Bias claim against Qld AMA". The Canberra Times. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 20 June 1994. p. 5. Retrieved 13 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- "PUBLIC SECTOR NOTICES PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT ACT 1988 SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE APPOINTMENTS". Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (132). New South Wales, Australia. 27 October 1995. p. 7565. Retrieved 20 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Dick Persson". Board Directors. Bridge Housing Limited. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "The Women's College Magazine". The Women's College, University of Sydney. Autumn 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- Dempster, Quentin (March 2005). "Media rules in the court of Carr". Webs of Power. Griffith Review. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Department of Public Works and Services". NSW State Records. NSW Government. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "NSW Government Gazette No 115 of 23 July 2003" (PDF). Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- O'Rourke, Claire; Davies, Anne (25 July 2003). "Councils deny interest conflicts". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- Dempster, Quentin (11 February 2005). "Councils Crisis" (Audio transcript). ABC Stateline NSW. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "New South Wales Department of Local Government 2005-2006 Annual Report" (PDF). Department of Local Government. 21 November 2006. p. 20. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- "Policies". Wake Up Warringah. 2008. Archived from the original on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- Green, Antony. "Warringah Council". 2008 NSW Local Council Elections. ABC Elections. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- West, Andrew; Creagh, Sunanda (10 September 2008). "Mayoral candidate under fire". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "PERSSON, Richard - Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour database. Australian Government. 26 January 2006. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "NSW Government Gazette No 25 of 27 February 2008" (PDF). p. 1251. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Council sacked over cost blow-out". ABC News. Australia. 27 February 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
- Willan, Frank. Port Macquarie-Hastings Council - Public Inquiry - Inquiry Report Volume 1. Government of New South Wales. ISBN 1-920766-69-3.
- "COUNCIL SACKED". Port News. 27 February 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Port Macquarie administrator to quit". ABC News. Australia. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
- "Dick says he's done". Port Macquarie News. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
- "Election of Directors - Briefing Note" (PDF). Bridge Housing Limited. 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Annual Report 2010 –11" (PDF). Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. NSW Government. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- NSW Government Gazette No 110 of 6 September 2013, p. 3954.
- Morcombe, John (12 May 2016). "One northern beaches council will be created under amalgamation plans". The Manly Daily. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Page 25 Local Government (Council Amalgamations) Proclamation 2016 [NSW] - Schedule 13 - Provisions for Northern Beaches Council" (PDF). Parliament of New South Wales. 2012. p. 25. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Administrator's Message". Northern Beaches Council. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- "Stronger Together: Administrator's Report to the Community" (PDF). Northern Beaches Council. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
|New title|| Director-General of Queensland Housing,
Local Government and Planning
1989 – 1994
Dr Peter Stanley
| Director-General of Queensland Health
1994 – 1995
as Director-General of Public Works
| Director-General of NSW Public Works and Services
1995 – 2003
as Director-General of Commerce
| Chairman of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
2011 – 2014
as Mayor of Warringah
| Administrator of Warringah Council
2003 – 2008
as Mayor of Warringah
as Mayor of Port Macquarie-Hastings
| Administrator of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
2008 – 2009
|New title|| Administrator of Northern Beaches Council
2016 – 2017