Tweed Shire general manager Mike Rayner (pictured) will call it a day tomorrow, Friday, on a 38-year-long public administration career, 30 of those with Tweed Shire Council.
Mr Rayner, 59, will be replaced by David Keenan, 46, former chief executive officer of Mitchell Shire Council in Melbourne, who takes over the reins on Monday.
The two recently met to discuss the handover to enable a smooth transition.
While Mr Rayner was a popular leader, he did court some controversy recently over his role on the board of Rally Australia, which ran the controversial world motor rally in 2009, forced onto Tweed and Kyogle shires by the former state government.
He was appointed by administrators as GM almost a year after council was sacked in 2005 as a result of the Daly Inquiry into developer links with councillors.
Mr Rayner began his career with Tweed council as a water engineer in 1982 when the construction of Clarrie Hall Dam was nearing completion. Thirty years later, as general manager, he was in charge of overseeing a $221 million annual budget, 670 staff and council assets worth more than $2.5 billion.
For 12 years before his appointment as GM, he was engineering services director.
A council spokesman said one of Mr Rayner’s key challenges during his time as GM was the transition from administration (May 2005–August 2008) to a new elected body following council elections in September 2008.
‘Under Mr Rayner’s leadership, council recently won this year’s AR Bluett Memorial Award, the most prestigious local-government award in NSW and the highest accolade to which any council can aspire,’ the spokesman said.
Council was also awarded three RH Dougherty Awards for excellence in communications in the past 15 months.
Mr Rayner surprised many when he announced six months ago that he’d retire and says he’s looking forward to enjoying more time with his wife Vicki and his grandchildren, ‘as well as more travelling and golf’.
‘Tweed Shire Council has provided for me 30 years of challenges, satisfaction and many friendships which will be ongoing. I could not have wished for a more fulfilling career and look forward to watching with confidence the continuing progress of the organisation.
‘I’m very excited about the next stage of my life; life is short and it is always important to keep that in perspective.’
Mayor Barry Longland praised Mr Rayner for ‘his professionalism and dedication and for the work he has done for the shire’.
‘For me personally, Mike has been of great assistance with the rough and tumble of the mayoral office, providing wise counsel where necessary, while always maintaining his integrity as a model of public administration,’ Cr Longland said.
Council colleagues will farewell their former boss at a special function in Murwillumbah tomorrow.