GM STUCK IN LIMBO
A suitable border crossing solution for Edward River Council’s new general manager is yet to be found.
For now, Phil Stone will lead the council from his home in Gippsland until he can cross in to NSW and Deniliquin.
The former Snowy Valleys Council director originally had a permit to cross from Victoria, but said it was cancelled when border restrictions tightened recently.
He was hoping to arrive in Deniliquin last Sunday, before starting his new role on Monday.
Mayor Norm Brennan said council has been speaking to the parliamentary secretary, health department and premier’s department to see if they can relocate Mr Stone, but are still unsure of when he might be able to make the move.
‘‘We have not been able to get a permit for Phil to travel into New South Wales, so he is working from his home in Gippsland until we are able to sort this out,’’ Cr Brennan said.
‘‘We initially thought we could get Phil to fly to Sydney and quarantine for 14 days, but there has been a hiccup in this process.
‘‘We are still exploring all options and avenues of getting him to Deniliquin.
‘‘In the meantime, Phil has been very active on Zoom for team meetings, as well as meeting as many other people. However it is never as good as having face-to-face interactions.
‘‘We are looking forward to having him in Deni and believe he will be a great asset to the team and community.’’
Mr Stone said while his introduction to Edward River Council has been a positive one, he would prefer to be on the ground in Deniliquin.
‘‘Edward River Council is a very collaborative organisation with a positive demeanour with all staff,’’ he said.
‘‘I am coming into the position with a brief from council about opening up businesses post COVID-19.
‘‘It is essentially about opening our community back up again and facilitating investments with a sense of open for business to achieve this.’’
Mr Stone was one of 38 candidates for Edward River’s top job, with applicants based in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and New Zealand.
He is a permanent replacement for Adam McSwain, who left council in early April for family reasons.
Retired general manager John Rayner had been filling in as interim general manager during the recruitment process, and farewelled the council last Friday.
■ Phil Stone in his home office in Gippsland, on his first day with Edward River Council.