'I sit around a table with other ministers, and not everybody loves local government,' Mr Kerr told delegates at the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers Scotland conference in Edinburgh.
Unison member Mr Kerr made much of his local government pedigree, referring to his spell at Glasgow City Council's land services department.
The irony that the finance minister still holds on to business cards from his days at Strathkelvin Council which describe his role as 'anti-privatisation officer' was not lost on his audience. He said the Executive had a critical role to play in the development of a Scottish political landscape.
'Our role is not just in the creation of
a legislative framework, but also in how we get to the legislation, in painting the big policy picture.'
He was keen to dispel any notion
of the team as 'mandarins in ivory towers', highlighting the Executive's supporting role in introducing best
value and the sharing of good practice.
The Executive is trying to introduce best value across all public sectors, he said, and plans legislation to push it beyond local government.
He cited the£95m allocated to councils for quality-of-life measures as a key success of the Executive's light touch to councils.
'I trust councils to meet the challenge and deliver at a local level,' he said.