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Byron Shire
June 26, 2024

Byron Shire Council GM resigning

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Byron Shire Council general manager Ken Gainger. Photo supplied
Byron Shire Council general manager Ken Gainger. Photo supplied

Cr Paul Spooner has confirmed with The Echo that Byron Shire Council’s general manager (GM) Ken Gainger will be resigning in January. 

Comment was sought from staff, yet no answer was received by deadline.

Mr Gainger will leave the post with around three years left on his contract and amid growing controversy over the town’s masterplan roll out and resistance to paid parking in Brunswick Heads and Bangalow.

During his five years in Byron Council, he restructured executive management and also oversaw a rate rise for a 33.55 per cent cumulative increase over four years to be retained permanently in the rate base. Roads and infrastructure was also a focus, with a comprehensive audit undertaken and an increased budget. Forward planning strategies were also completed.  

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  1. Thank goodness. Brought nothing but trouble to our shire. So out of touch with community values and wouldn’t stoop to speak to ratepayers with matters of genuine concerns.

  2. “And another one bight the dust…” … Why is it so hard to find visionary bureaucrats to compliment the citizens and residents of Byron Shire? From Max Eastcott till now, I cannot think of one truly ‘successful’ or ‘popular’ GM. The last election result shows clearly what people want … sustainability and vision … so let’s try this time to get a GM who fits the feel !

  3. Another head rolls! When is Council going to hire a qualified local who understands the Shire’s demographic? And who may be able to work with the people who live here? And who understands the term ‘community consultation’?

  4. Byron Community voted overwhelmingly for a Green (environmentally focused) council. I trust the GM who replaces Ken Gainger will have the values our Community voted for, and a new better environment centre for landcare and other species care volunteers will be built, to extend and facilitate the work that Byron’s Earthlovers do, locally and globally- giving information to travellers, and recruiting for Earth care projects. – Byron is far too special and alive to homogenise.

    • It would be great to see a council that represents community values, local community groups and those who care about the future of the Byron Shire, as many mention above.

      I really hope that council hires a new GM who can adequately address the many challenges facing the Shire and act in the best interests of locals and the environment, rather than big business and inappropriate development. The Byron Shire has a unique opportunity to set an example for the rest of Australia of how a town can flourish through sustainable, community approved development, protection of the natural environment and the rights of the local community. At the moment, these areas aren’t being addressed and Byron seems to be on the right track toward becoming another over-developed corporate cash cow like Noosa and the Gold Coast.

  5. Hopefully Mr Andrew Roach, former GM of Port Macquarie and Scenic Rim councils will not be considered, let alone try. Byron needs a progressive, visionary manager and dare I say aligned with green(s) vision. Councillors be careful who you choose and don’t let some has been GM or GMs pull the wool over your eyes – do your research thoroughly.

  6. Good points made, GMs in NSW tend to come from a narrow mediocre pool. They tend to try and preserve to status quo during their tenure and strongly resist reforms that would cause them trouble with staff, unions and government. Thus the governance of council staff tends to deteriorate over successive GM appointments.
    Ken has been just the latest. It is the job of councillors to ensure that the GM maintains a standard of performance (governance) but few have read this part of the Local Government Act as the mayor and Paul Spooner demonstrated in the Echo. The council is out of favour with the community because councillors have not been doing their job and not so much whether (or not) Ken was a mediocre GM.

    • The General Manager was granted another four-year contract by the outgoing council who employed him initially. The General Manager resigned in the first year of that four year contract. The Local Government representative in Sydney has stated the General Manager in that situation would be entitled to twenty-six weeks plus accrued leave as a payout upon resignation. The question should be answered by the Mayor was this the case or was the GM paid out for the remaining three years of the four-year contract.

  7. Is corruption an issue in Byron Council and if so, who is equipped within the pool of elected councillors or staff to deal with it?
    The resident, business, environmental and development bodies need a resilient, transparent and progressive council and management to step up consciously and bravely to undertake the many issues facing this shire.

  8. Someone needs to go through this whole “shire” and get rid of all the whinging whinning hippy element that do nothing but cause trouble and dont support the government and the country that supports them. They want such a strong voice in every issue but don’t support their own community in anyway.

  9. Ken Gainger has made a valuable contribution to the management of Byron Shire Council over the last 5 years. His extensive experience of local government greatly assisted the decision making processes of both councillors and staff. During his time he managed to oversee a much needed streamlining of council processes and executive staffing positions. A major legacy will be his oversight in beginning the Byron Bay Masterplan project. A project that will influence the shape of the town for many years to come. Ken is leaving council to enjoy a much deserved retirement. I for one thank him for his contribution to the shire and wish him well.

  10. Interesting to read so many ignorant comments here. People still don’t get that it is the elected councillors that decide on what will be done in their local council. The councillors agree on a strategic plan based on feedback from the community? I’ll guess that most of these commenters haven’t even seen a copy of the Council’s Community Strategic Plan, let alone bothered to contribute to it’s development. Don’t like they way things are done at your local Council? Then talk to your elected councillors. If that doesn’t work then vote in a different bunch of Councillors at the next local government elections. That’s democracy. Don’t tear apart a good, honest man employed to do a job.


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