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GM job cloud a merger ‘farce’

A STATE government directive for council general managers under the cloud of Fit for the Future mergers to reapply for their jobs has been roundly criticised, with one even branding it a farce.
Nanjing Night Net

An expressions of interest (EOI) process for council general managers is being conducted by the state government to identify suitably qualified interim general managers for any newly created council.

Walcha Shire Council general manager Jack O’Hara was very critical of the process, slamming it as farcical.

“I think it’s a bit of farce, putting out an EOI for a job that may or may not be there,” Mr O’Hara said.

He said he put in an application initially, but retracted it because he didn’t want to be seen to be supporting a merger in any form.

“We’ve been caught before and got stung,” he said.

Mr O’Hara was also critical of the process calling for applicants to partake at their own cost, claiming that interested GMs were required to travel to Sydney without reimbursement.

“They’re willing to spend money on the process, but not on the applicant,” he said.

Guyra Shire general manager Peter Stewart said there were a number of unanswered questions about the new roles.

“What happens to a current contract if it runs longer than the interim period?” Mr Stewart said.

“You’re applying for a position but you don’t know the contract or the details.”

Mr Stewart said he understood the process and that there “had to be some legwork done”, because an interim GM was expected from day one, should a merger go ahead.

General managers who put forward expressions of interest were able to apply as an interim GM with any of the potentially amalgamated councils in the state.

Mr Stewart said preference would be given to local GMs, but there were pros and cons to installing someone new to the region.

“Each GM comes into it with their own baggage and loyalties to their staff and councils,” he said.

“There could be advantages to coming in with a clean slate.”

Tamworth Regional Council general manager Paul Bennett said he put an expression of interest forward as an interim GM for the Tamworth and Walcha proposed merger, and that it had been a very involved process for a job that may not be required.

Starting with a “full-blown job application”, Mr Bennett said he was required to travel to Sydney for an interview at his own expense.

“But we still don’t know what will happen,” Mr Bennett said.

He said it would be unlikely a new interim GM would be brought to the region.

“Would you terminate two GMs to bring in a third party? The GM has to work with the local council. Would you impose someone who could be incompatible?” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.