The Shire of Lake Grace is down two councillors after a major shake-up headlined by the recent resignations of the chief executive and Shire president. The resignations came after ratepayers confronted the Shire over several issues at a December council meeting. Some 34 ratepayers sat in on the council meeting after discussing their frustrations at a community meeting. New Shire president Len Armstrong said chief executive Denise Gobbart went on leave in December and resigned about six weeks ago. Cr Armstrong said former Shire president Jeanette De Landgrafft and former councillor Murray Stanton both resigned at the May 20 council meeting. At the same meeting, Cr Peter Stoffberg handed in his resignation as the Shire’s deputy president. Cr Armstrong said Cr Stoffberg would remain a councillor for the duration of his term. The Shire has advised the WA Electoral Commission of the two vacancies and requested an extraordinary council election be held “as soon as possible”. “There were issues. Some were to do with lack of communication with the whole council — that isn’t the chief executive’s fault,” Cr Armstrong said. “Lack of communication was the biggest problem with the community, I think, and there were some issues with getting things done. It got to the stage that it was virtually a stalemate and work wasn’t being completed. “We didn’t have enough of a workforce to justify the amount of equipment that was tied up down in the work yard. “It was all building up to a head.” At the Shire’s December 18 council meeting, ratepayer Shane Carruthers posed questions to then Shire president, Ms De Landgrafft. Among his questions were inquiries about a high turnover of staff at the Shire, why the wider community was not consulted regarding rebranding, why the rebranding was given a high priority, and the E-Quote tendering system which he said disappointed the community. He asked the council to adopt a “can-do attitude” and urged the Ms De Landgrafft to regain control of the Shire. Cr Armstrong said it was the last meeting Ms Gobbart attended before taking leave. “Some ratepayers, mainly in Lake Grace, had a feeling that the council had lost its way in its direction and they weren’t happy with some of the outcomes,” he said. “Shane Carruthers put his hand up as being the spokesperson and he was quite vocal that the councillors had lost direction and that maybe too much emphasis was being put on the chief executive to get things done when that role basically belongs to council.” Alan George has taken over the role of acting chief executive from deputy. The Shire has started the process of recruiting a new permanent chief executive. “On behalf of the Shire of Lake Grace Council, the senior management team and staff, I would like to thank both Jeanette De Landgrafft and Murray Stanton for their service to the council and the community,” Cr Armstrong said. Ms De Landgrafft and Ms Gobbart were contacted for comment.