In one of his last duties before Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council enters caretaker mode, council administrator Stephen Sykes has approved a controversial contract extension for interim general manager Allen Dwyer.
Mr Dwyer is now contracted to the top job until December 31, 2019.
In response, Gundagai Council in Exile has written urgently to the Premier, Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government calling on them to immediately place the council into caretaker mode.
Council in Exile chair Dr Paul Mara said it is the opinion of the group that when the previous administrator and interim general manager left the organisation, the position of interim general manager should have been advertised and any contract only run until the new council was elected.
At Monday night’s council meeting in the Stephen Ward Rooms Gordon Lindley addressed council asking why Mr Sykes was considering providing an 18-month extension when new councillors would be elected in September this year.
“I believe it is the job of the new council to extend the contract, not yours,” Mr Lindley said, addressing Mr Sykes.
He reminded those in attendance at the meeting that ratepayers had funded the remainder of the contract of sacked former interim general manager Ken Trethewey, who had 12 months left on his contract when he departed from the position in early June.
Cootamundra’s Rod Chalmers and former Gundagai Mayor Abb McAlister also addressed Mr Sykes during the open forum with concerns about the contract extension.
In approving the extension, Mr Sykes said he had taken into account all of the concerns brought forward.
He said he had considered what his primary role was in joining the council for a short period as administrator from April until now.
“I want to deliver the best council I can,” he said, adding that he initially had the ability to appoint Mr Dwyer for three years but chose not to.
Furthermore, Mr Dwyer was involved in a new sewer treatment plant at Hay Shire and with funding approved for Gundagai’s new sewer treatment plant, Mr Sykes said he is in a good position to oversee the project.
“It is not a decision that I have taken lightly but I’m not here to always take the easy path,” Mr Sykes said.