News has leaked this morning that it’s Groundhog Day at Lismore Council.
Reliable sources close to Lismore Council, who asked not to be named, have shared with The Echo that the new Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg has called an Extraordinary Meeting for next Monday afternoon – at which time it will be announced that the current General Manager, Michael Donnelly, will be leaving Council. This is one day shy of the anniversary of the same event with a different GM last year – and on Tuesday morning, a new general manager will start work. That is assuming that Mayor Kreig has the support of the majority of other councillors at the Monday meeting.
That will make it five GMs in five years.
Controversial new GM
The Echo has been told that the new general manager is John Walker, who was once employed by the Richmond Valley Council before moving to Western Australia.
Walker became the centre of controversy at the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Council when he was suspended early in 2021 amid allegations of workplace misconduct. He left later in the year with an undisclosed payout.
Questions for the Mayor?
The current Council has been in place for less than two months, so the obvious questions for the new Mayor Steve Krieg are:
How long does it take to decide to release a current GM?
How long does it take to start the process to employ a new GM?
Was the job advertised and was due process followed?
Cost to ratepayers
Lismore Council is in tight financial circumstances yet they gave 39 weeks severance pay to the previous GM, a payout thought to be worth more than $260,000 according to the ABC. Now 12 months later another 39-week payout for another no-fault termination. This has left some locals asking what will that do to very tight budgets, and where will this money come from?
The outgoing GM will have served Lismore for 364 days.
Next Tuesday’s ordinary meeting promises to be a fiery one at the Lismore Council chambers.