Call to suspend Armidale council

A LOCAL councillor has called for his own council to be suspended amid the controversial dumping of its general manager.

Councillor Herman Beyersdorf urged the Division of Local Government and NSW Minister for Local Government Don Page to intervene and consider suspending Armidale Dumaresq Council in order to restore badly needed “sense and stability”.

The shock move comes after a public spat between mayor Laurie Bishop and general manager Shane Burns culminated yesterday with council and Mr Burns confirming they had agreed to terms for the early termination of Mr Burns’ employment contract. 

The terms of settlement are confidential, but were in accordance with council’s motion and the general manger’s contract, the statement read.

“While I have no wish to end my lengthy career of well over 20 years as a councillor in this fashion, I do think that events have now progressed so far that urgent intervention by the government is the only way to turn this council around,” Cr Beyersdorf said.

“It is my belief that staff morale has hit rock bottom, and the instability in the organisation over the next few months until a new permanent general manager can be appointed will not improve this situation.”

Council’s veteran finance and IT manager Keith Lockyer will be acting general manager until further notice.

Cr Bishop moved to oust Mr Burns last month, using his casting vote at two separate council meetings to initiate proceedings.

Mr Burns contends the mayoral minute was an attempt to gag him in the wake of serious code-of-conduct complaints levelled at the mayor.

Ratepayers will foot the bill for Mr Burns’ payout, reported to be more than $100,000.

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