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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

New council ‘should choose GM’

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Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham says the new council elected after September should have the right to choose a new general manager.

Cr Barham told Echonetdaily that the decision on Tuesday by general manager Graeme Faulkner to resign a year short of the end of his five-year contract was entirely his to make.

The mayor said she felt people agreed a new council had the right to determine who should fill the role, and that was one option for a new council to deal with if the current council passed on that responsibility.

‘It’s a good thing to pick your own person,’ she said.

‘We all know Byron is under a lot of pressure and is very complex for a local government area, so it requires someone to appreciate its values and difficulties,’ she said.

The GM’s sudden announcement follows a secret council meeting last week to discuss renewal of Mr Faulkner’s contract, but no decision was taken.

The reasons for his decision have not been disclosed.

The resignation follows several recent divisive issues which pitted the GM against the mayor, including code of conduct complaints against the mayor which were eventually withdrawn, and the felling by staff last week of 20 mature trees in a wildlife corridor along Broken Head Road.

Cr Barham, who moved to stop any further clearing of the corridor, said staff were aware of the significance of the corridor and has called for in internal investigation.

A council spokesman said the GM’s resignation did not mean councillors could not appoint a permanent replacement before September’s local council elections. But he admitted it would be difficult given the short time-frame and the fact the council must go into caretaker mode a month before the election.

Mr Faulkner was appointed a few months before the 2008 elections.

A report for councillors regarding the general manager’s position will be presented at the 28 June meeting.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. One would hope that a new manager would understand that it is imperative to actually negotiate with local people. The incumbent never understood that notion and ran the council like a headmaster of a school might have in the nineteenth century! We are blessed that he has decided to move on…..

    • It’s easy to criticize from the outside without a real picture of the sort of pressure the GM was under from a team of navel gazing Councillors locked in “Groupthink”. If the GM ran things like a C19th headmaster perhaps that is indicative of the sort of behaviour he had to tolerate from the majority of Councillors, Cr. Tucker being an exception to the petty egos and tantrums that were regularly displayed.

  2. Regardless of the outside manegers motivation, local knolege can not be replaced.
    Fighting over power with ratepayers money has let us to todays situation, only a mediator- new set up between staff and councilors can solve.
    With the next September elections why not can the community elect the new GM
    who is also leading the council meetings?
    no major needet but
    GM is a councilor too!!

    See following web links and my comments:

    You have to understand both to see the difference:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_manager

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberstadtdirektor

    this one “Oberbürgermeister” person is effective in Germany

    example my hometown Hildesheim with ~ 100.000 people

    http://www.ndr.de/regional/niedersachsen/kommunalwahlen_2011/hildesheim237.html

    the “green party” is coming with 19%
    “Oberbürgermeister” (OB) Kurt Machens own party down to 4.7% (from 12.7%)

    But he rules effective the “Stadtrat” big coalition of CDU and SPD.

    I belive this is the way out 4 BB

    reg. Dieter Horstmann

    PS: use google translater to understand German.
    also the Byron ECO park sould be a talking point 4 the elections –
    see: http://www.byronecopark.com

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