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which pitted the GM against the mayor, including code of conduct complaints against the mayor which were eventually withdrawn, and the felling by staff last week of 20 mature trees in a wildlife corridor along Broken Head Road.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