The overall workplace score from employees improved by just two points from 61 out of 100 in 2017 and 2019 to 63 in 2020.
The average workplace score for local governments in WA is 74.
Out of the 518 staff members surveyed in 2020, 13 per cent thought it was an excellent place to work, 42 per cent found it good, 31 per cent OK, 10 per cent poor and 4 per cent terrible.
Mr Zempilas said he hoped under new leadership that staff satisfaction would improve during the council’s tenure.
“We’ve been here a little over two months and I can only say we have been very warmly received and there has been excellent engagement between the administration and elected members and we have felt very supported by the administration during our formative months,” he said.
The local government was the subject of a two-year inquiry that started with the suspension of former Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and the entire council in early 2018 as the organisation was falling apart at the seams with infighting.
The inquiry’s 2000-page report laid bare 250 instances of poor governance, factionalism, greed and incompetence.
Council voted on Tuesday night to hold off on immediately committing to pay the $7,754,709 cost of the inquiry after the state government sent an order on December 9 to settle the bill.
Councillors instead wanted staff at the City of Perth to update the organisation’s long term financial plan, which had only set aside $3.5 million to cover costs of the inquiry, while Zempilas negotiated whether the money could be reinvested into projects with the local government.
The City has until February 28 to pay a first instalment of $3.5 million.
Councillor Brent Fleeton told Tuesday night’s meeting the state government should have to wear the costs of its actions.
“I can’t believe we’re sitting here talking about ratepayers copping the full amount,” he said.
“We have got a state surplus, we have priorities such as homelessness that aren’t being funded properly.
“It’s a huge sum of money on behalf of ratepayers and means we can’t do a lot of the things we have to do or increase rates drastically for something the state should be paying for.”
Mr Zempilas said at the end of the day the City of Perth was going to have to pay the bill.
“We can jump up and down but at the end of the day we’re going to have to pay,” he said.
“We could take the state government to court … I don’t think we’d win.
“We don’t like it and we don’t have to like it … our negotiation continues.”
A cost breakdown tabled in WA parliament revealed $5.8 million of the inquiry bill was just for staffing.
Peter de Kruijff is a journalist with WAtoday.