Casting vote means GM gets burned


A CONTENTIOUS motion to oust the general manager of Armidale Dumaresq Council (ADC) has been upheld.

Councillors met at an extraordinary council meeting on Friday night to vote on a rescission motion put forward after a mayoral minute calling for the early termination of Shane Burns’ employment contract was narrowly carried during a closed session at last Monday night’s ordinary council meeting.

Voting patterns mimicked the verdict of the mayoral minute, five votes all, with the rescission motion being overruled by mayor Laurie Bishop after he applied his casting vote.

Cr Herman Beyersdorf, who supported the rescission motion, said the decision to uphold the mayoral minute was “dangerous” and “not quite in accordance” with the dispute resolution terms outlined in Mr Burns’ contract.

Under the mayoral minute, Cr Bishop and deputy mayor Jenny Bailey are able to seek advice from the NSW Division of Local Government (LGNSW) on the suitability of mediation to secure improved “working arrangements of the ADC executive”.

If mediation fails to repair Cr Bishop and Mr Burns’ damaged relationship, councillors Bishop and Bailey are then authorised to seek the LGNSW’s assistance to negotiate with Mr Burns for the early termination of his contract.

The long-standing general manager contends Cr Bishop tabled the mayoral minute “hot on the heels” of serious code of conduct complaints against the mayor, which Mr Burns lodged on behalf of council staff.

However, the first-term mayor strongly denies the claims he belittled and bullied staff, as well as Mr Burns’ allegation a connection  exists between the code of conduct complaints and the timing of the mayoral minute.

Cr Beyersdorf told The Leader on Thursday  he feared the ongoing faction would lead to unwanted scrutiny from the administrators.

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