Councillors are making multimillion-dollar development decisions based on community opinion rather than planning legislation, says WA's longest serving local government chief executive.
John Giorgi, who recently resigned after 43 years in local government, said councillors should have mandatory training so they better understand their role.
His call was echoed by WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard, who said elected members were having to deal with "increasingly technically complex matters" on planning and finance.
"The biggest problem now with councillors is that a lot of them don't understand their roles, particularly in planning," Mr Giorgi said.
"You can be (an ordinary person) on the street today and get elected tomorrow and you're expected to make multimillion-dollar development decisions without any training whatsoever and that's wrong."
He believed there should be compulsory training for councillors.
Mr Giorgi said some councillors used the "squeaky wheel" approach - make a lot of noise to sway councils without the planning facts.
"A lot of councillors don't understand planning legislation and in a lot of cases they override the administration and that's why you end up with appeals and decisions being overturned by the State Administrative Tribunal," he said.
Mr Giorgi was chief executive of Vincent for 20 years and worked for the City of Perth for two decades but his comments were general. He resigned from Vincent after the council voted not to renew his contract.
Mr Pickard said there was a "growing appetite" for compulsory training for new councillors.
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said he repeatedly urged WA councillors to attend training.