ICAC calls for council transparency

THE Independent Commission Against Corruption has warned Newcastle City Council of its responsibility to be transparent when making staff appointments.

It follows concerns that lord mayor Jeff McCloy requested his former campaign manager, Josh Hodges, be hired as his chief of staff.

Newcastle City Council general manager Phil Pearce said in a statement yesterday that the council was recruiting for the position using a competitive, merit-based process.

He said the elected council had delegated to the lord mayor the function of determining the structure of the office of the lord mayor, including the positions within the structure.

‘‘All applications will be reviewed after the closing date by the interview panel, which will consist of representatives from the Local Government and Shires Association,’’ he said.

‘‘Those that most closely meet the selection criteria will be contacted for an interview process applying the principles of merit as defined under the Local Government Act.’’

The Independent Commission Against Corruption contacted the council this week to remind it of the need to be transparent when making appointments under the Local Government Act.