Coun­cil­lors move to axe Gen­eral Man­ager

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

The fu­ture of Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s Gen­eral Man­ager Chris Gil­lard with coun­cil ap­pears to be over fol­low­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing last Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 1, called by Mayor Pat Bourke.

At that meet­ing, coun­cil au­tho­rised its mayor and/or other des­ig­nated per­sons to ne­go­ti­ate in re­la­tion to the Gen­eral Man­ager’s con­tract of em­ploy­ment, on the mo­tion of first time coun­cil­lors elected fol­low­ing the Septem­ber 9 elec­tion, Mul­wala-based Cr An­drew Kennedy and Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch from Corowa.

Coun­cil’s res­o­lu­tion also stated the mayor may seek as­sis­tance from the Of­fice of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment NSW and other des­ig­nated per­sons, and le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil in re­la­tion to the Gen­eral Man­ager’s con­tract of em­ploy­ment.

Nei­ther the mover nor sec­on­der of the mo­tion would com­ment to the Yar­ra­wonga Chronicle on any­thing to do with the sub­ject.

Af­ter the ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing, Cr Bourke told the me­dia, in­clud­ing the Yar­ra­wonga Chronicle, that a lot of con­ver­sa­tions were nec­es­sary about Mr Gil­lard’s con­tract.

“In the jour­ney of a new coun­cil which was a merged en­tity it was a very tough job,” the mayor said.

“Coun­cil wants to look at a fu­ture di­rec­tion it wants to take.”

Ex­plain­ing his rea­son­ing to the Yar­ra­wonga Chronicle for call­ing last Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing, Cr Bourke said: “I was ap­proached by a num­ber of coun­cil­lors to clear the is­sue. There had been some an­i­mos­ity.”

Senior In­dus­trial Of­fi­cer with the Of­fice of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment NSW, Ross Nas­sif at­tended the short, ap­prox­i­mate 35-minute ex­tra­or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing which was held in-com­mit­tee. “The senior in­dus­trial of­fi­cer will as­sist in ne­go­ti­a­tions on Mr Gil­lard’s con­tract of em­ploy­ment,” Cr Bourke said.

Upon the meet­ing’s clo­sure, coun­cil again went be­hind closed doors, to fur­ther dis­cuss Mr Gil­lard’s sit­u­a­tion.

It is un­der­stood the ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing’s res­o­lu­tion via a se­cret bal­lot be­hind closed doors was not unan­i­mous but that the vast ma­jor­ity of coun­cil­lors voted in favour of the res­o­lu­tion, to in ef­fect, have Mr Gil­lard’s ser­vices ter­mi­nated.

The Yar­ra­wonga Chronicle be­lieves it may have been a 6-3 vote in favour of the mo­tion, with possibly Crs Paul Miegel, Gail Law and David Lon­g­ley want­ing to re­tain Mr Gil­lard’s ser­vices in view of com­ments they made in the lead-up to elec­tion day.

As from Mon­day last week, the Gen­eral Man­ager was on leave and coun­cil’s Director In­fra­struc­ture and En­vi­ron­ment Peter Gall was act­ing Gen­eral Man­ager. He re­mains in the po­si­tion.

Mr Gil­lard com­menced duty as Gen­eral Man­ager with Corowa Shire Coun­cil in 2013 and was made In­terim Gen­eral Man­ager of the newly cre­ated Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil as a re­sult of the merger of Corowa and Urana Shires in May 2016.

His ap­point­ment as Gen­eral Man­ager was con­firmed by Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mike Eden last De­cem­ber, for a pe­riod of four years ef­fec­tive from May 2016, through to 2020.

Be­fore­hand, Mr Gil­lard’s per­for­mance as Corowa Shire Gen­eral Man­ager was en­dorsed un­der the reigns of May­ors Fred Longmire and Paul Miegel in the lead up to May 2016.

Since amal­ga­ma­tion of the two shires, the road has been a rocky one es­pe­cially with the re­duc­tion in the num­ber of for­mer coun­cil­lors ap­pointed by the Ad­min­is­tra­tor, Mike Eden, to the Lo­cal Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Com­mit­tee (LRC) ahead of the first Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil vot­ing date of Septem­ber 9, 2017 for coun­cil­lors.

The LRC was es­tab­lished by Mr Eden in May 2016 with nine for­mer coun­cil­lors - four from the for­mer Urana Shire and five from the for­mer Corowa Shire - to act as a lo­cal ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to the Ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Not feel­ing suf­fi­ciently in­volved, lis­tened to or con­sulted on coun­cil mat­ters, the three north­ern end for­mer Urana Shire coun­cil­lors who in­cluded the last mayor of Urana Shire Coun­cil, Pat Bourke, re­signed from the LRC. Their de­par­tures were ad­vised at coun­cil’s Jan­uary 2017 meet­ing by the Ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Just three of the orig­i­nal nine mem­bers re­mained and Cr Gail Law had been added to the team. Mr Eden sub­se­quently in­creased the in­volve­ment of the four for­mer coun­cil­lors on coun­cil mat­ters. But it seems the dye had been cast.

In the lead-up to the elec­tion, there was jock­ey­ing for slots on some vot­ing tick­ets. Many of the huge num­ber of 41 coun­cil­lor can­di­dates shored up their strong feel­ings about is­sues and be­lieved the ticket vot­ing sys­tem was the bet­ter method to have one or mem­bers (Nos. 1 and 2 on the ticket) elected to best rep­re­sent the Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil area. Three per­sons who stood in­de­pen­dently, Crs Gail Law, David Lon­g­ley and Paul Miegel were suc­cess­ful.

Dur­ing the ten­ure of Mr Eden from May 2016 to Septem­ber 2017, with­out elected coun­cil­lors, he had a close work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Mr Gil­lard.

At Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s in­au­gu­ral meet­ing on Septem­ber 26, Cr Bourke was voted in as mayor, win­ning the po­si­tion over the only other can­di­date, Cr Miegel. Cr Shaun Whitechurch then won the deputy mayor’s po­si­tion from Cr Miegel and Cr Law.

The con­tract of Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil Gen­eral Man­ager Chris Gil­lard was the sub­ject of an ex­tra­or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing called last week.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.