Manager’s last goodbye
Friday will mark the end of an era for the Jerilderie community, with the departure of Craig Moffitt from Murrumbidgee Council.
Mr Moffitt (pictured) has been at the helm of the local council for the last 13 years, initially with Jerilderie Shire before a merger to form Murrumbidgee Council in 2016.
Believing it’s time for the newly merged council to have new blood in the top leadership role, the 68 year-old elected not to renegotiate his contract earlier this year.
Filling Mr Moffitt’s shoes from Monday will be John Scarce, who was recruited to Murrumbidgee Council from the City of Morden in Manitoba, Canada.
‘‘I’ve come to the retiring age and I feel this organisation and myself need a change,’’ Mr Moffitt said.
‘‘I’ll be in retirement or on an extended holiday for the first six months before I choose what I want to do.
‘‘If I get bored I’ll look around to see what I can do in the field of local government.
‘‘I’ll definitely miss the role, but retiring is the right thing.’’
Mr Moffitt arrived in Jerilderie in 2005 after a 14 year stint as general manager of the former Wakool Shire Council.
During his farewell to council last week, Mr Moffitt reflected on the achievements he’s most proud of during his time as manager.
His highlights include forming a strong and resilient council and community.
‘‘The first thing that stands out is the 48 recommendations of a focus review by the state government that they said needed addressing when I started.
‘‘We achieved all of those recommendations in 18 months and it was a very neat start to my job here.
‘‘The redesigned library is a brainchild of mine. The money was available, the plans were finished but they weren’t the plans for the library we have now.
‘‘It was to be a different library in the main street, so we turned it into the product we have today by using local design and construction talent.
‘‘The third thing I’m happy with is the council offer to assist with the merger of the golf and bowls clubs, which were failing individually at the time.
‘‘It’s now a vibrant club (including tennis and fishing) that probably would not have survived had they not merged, and that was a decision of council to offer assistance.
‘‘The heart and soul of a community is the football and netball club, followed by medi- cal and then other clubs come in after that. If you have vibrant sporting clubs then you have a vibrant community.’’
Mr Moffitt praised the Jerilderie community for its willingness to work together to get things done.
He said the success of the community is supported by its close relationship with council.
‘‘Jerilderie is a can-do community and council plays a pivotal role in assisting that into achieving things,’’ he said.
‘‘Jerilderie Shire had such a good name for being close with its people, and being able to work with them.
‘‘The biggest issue we had with merging was that we knew there was no place in the iteration of Local Government New South Wales for a one town shire; it was unlikely to survive.’’
Mr Moffitt said one of the strongest relationships he forged during his time with the council was with the late Terry Hogan, who was Mayor of Jerilderie Shire and chairman of the Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils.
Mr Hogan was mayor for eight years during Mr Moffitt’s tenure, and Mr Moffitt said he truly respected him.
‘‘Terry and I were honest with each other and that is what made our relationship healthy,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve been able to carry that into my relationship with Ruth (McRae, who is the mayor of Murrumbidgee Council).’’
Mr Moffitt thanked his staff for the support he’s received over the past 13 years, with particular reference to his longtime executive assistant Julie Conn.