Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg has announced today that the current General Manager (GM) of Lismore City Council has withdrawn his application to become the permanent GM.
‘As has been reported by the media, John Walker has withdrawn his application to stay on as the General Manager of Lismore City Council past his current contract date,’ stated Mr Kreig.
Lismore Councillor and former Mayor Vanessa Ekins told The Echo, ‘I am very disappointed that during the recruitment process the current interim GM would announce the withdrawal of his application to the media without first telling councillors. We found out about it on social media.
‘The interim GM is blaming councillors. The councillors have been working really well together on bringing together a strategy for Lismore for the next 20 years. Our meetings are conducted with civility and we are getting through the business of the council which is to maintain the road network, manage waste etc. We are also working on our growth management strategy and affordable housing strategy.
‘As the mayor and the new councillors settle into the formal meeting process and the business of council they are engaged and are a body we are continuing to work together.’
However, Councillor Krieg has praised te work of Mr Walker saying, ‘The term of his contract has literally been like no other, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to stand beside Mr Walker during what has undoubtedly been the most difficult period in our city’s history.
‘He deserves a great deal of credit for Lismore being in such a good position so soon after the flood, at the same time nurturing and directing staff, and restructuring the organisation to make it a durable and sustainable organisation into the future.
‘I look forward to the future of Lismore that John has had an integral part in laying the foundation for. His commitment to the staff of Lismore City Council and the residents of our LGA is a legacy. I am personally committed to continuing to work to rebuild our city.’
GM avoided previous sacking
The termination of General Manager Michael Donnelly and Mr Walker’s appointment as GM of Lismore in February this year was controversial from the start given criticisms of his past performance in the same role with the Richmond Valley Council and a council in Western Australia.
In June this year, Mr Walker avoided being sacked after Greens Councillor Adam Guise brought a motion for his dismissal. The vote to sack Mr Walker was defeated 8–3 by the time Cr Krieg’s majority team of six voted against, with only Crs Guise, fellow Greens Cr Vanessa Ekins, and Independent Cr Big Rob in favour.
‘The current recruitment process is continuing and I am confident of finding a suitable replacement,’ said Mr Krieg.