CEO & General Managers

The day-to-day operations of the organisation is led by the Chief Executive Officer, who is appointed by Council.

Role of the CEO

The CEO has a number of responsibilities which are set out in Section 94A of the Local Government Act 1989. These functions include establishing and maintaining an appropriate organisational structure, ensuring that council decisions are implemented promptly, overseeing the daily management of council operations following the Council Plan and developing a Code of Conduct for Council staff and Councillors. The CEO is also the main person to whom Council delegates powers.

S5 Instrument of Delegation to the CEO(PDF, 173KB)

S6 Instrument of Delegation to Member of Staff(PDF, 4MB)

The CEO is the only direct employee of the Council. All other employees report through their respective General Manager to the CEO.

Responsibilities of the Executive Services Unit also include:

  • Executive support for the Mayor and Councillors, including approving Council reports and providing strategic advice to Councillors
  • Implementation of Council’s policies and decisions
  • Liaison with other levels of government and major stakeholders
  • City development and investment attraction
  • Leadership of the Strategic Management Team (Council’s Executive Leadership Team and senior branch managers)


Messages, statements and media comments from our CEO are also available here.


Executive Leadership Team

Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Philpott


Sarah commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer in early August 2019.  Sarah has over 20 years of leadership experience within local government, in South Australia, Queensland and now Victoria.  She has experience across many areas of local government services, including urban planning and design, asset management, economic development, community development, health, wellbeing and safety, libraries, theatres, cultural centres and the arts, environmental planning and projects, and major project delivery and implementation. 

In addition, Sarah has been responsible for leading large teams and for changing organisational performance and culture.  With a focus on good governance and sound financial management, Sarah combines this local government background with private sector and state government experience in the justice sector, most recently in courts administration.  Sarah has built on undergraduate qualifications in library and information management, with post graduate qualifications in business administration, change management and a Masters.  Sarah is passionate about working with community, making a difference to the people who live, work and visit our region, and ensuring that Council is focussed on adding value, operating efficiently, and providing responsive customer service. 

The Chief Executive Officer is supported by three Departments lead by General Managers.

General Manager Corporate, Chris Parham


Chris was appointed into the role of Acting General Manager Corporate in October 2015, and General Manager Corporate in August 2016.

Chris has nearly six years’ management experience in local government, having served in the role of Manager Information Systems prior to his appointment to the Acting General Manager Corporate position.  Chris has extensive private sector management, project management, and information and communications technologies experience.  Chris has a Masters of Business Administration, Graduate Certificate in Management, Diploma in Information Technology, PRINCE2 Practitioner and is currently studying law.  Chris is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Responsibilities of the Corporate Department include:

  • Organisational Development
  • Human Resources
  • Financial Services
  • Information Systems
  • Corporate Administration
  • Internal Audit

General Manager Development, Mandy Whelan

Mandy Whelan

Mandy was appointed into the role of General Manager Development in June 2016.

Mandy has over 11 years’ management experience in local government, having served in the role of Manager Organisational Development for a period of five years prior to her appointment to the position of General Manager Corporate which she undertook for nearly six years and now General Manager Development. Mandy has a Masters of Business Administration. Responsibilities of the Development Department include:
  • Asset Services
  • Development Services
  • Parks and Waste Services
  • Works and Infrastructure Services

General Manager Community, Martin Hawson

Martin Hawson

Martin has a broad and extensive background in community services leadership and management experience in local government.

Prior to his appointment to General Manager Community in June 2003, Martin was the Manager of Aged and Disability Services for five years. Martin has a Masters of Health Science and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Responsibilities of the Community Department include:
  • Leisure and Cultural Services
  • Community Care Services
  • Community Futures
  • Community Planning
  • Strategic Planning

Contact Us

Enquiries can be directed to the Governance Unit on (03) 5018 8100.