Council?s secret vote dumps GM

By DAWN COHEN

BALLINA Shire Council has dumped its general manager Stuart McPherson.

In a secret ballot behind closed doors, the council voted against renewing Mr McPherson's contract.

On Thursday, councillors also decided to destroy ballot papers and to keep numbers confidential.

Legally, a general manager's contract must be renewed at least every five years.

Mr McPherson's contract is up in July 2005.

In September, as required by law, the general manager told council he wanted to keep his job.

After hearing he had lost his position with its $150,000 annual salary on Thursday, Mr McPherson calmly continued with the council regular monthly meeting as if nothing

had happened.

"I am disappointed, but I am also philosophical, about it," he said yesterday.

"I have supported the concept of limited tenure for general managers all along.

"Sometimes the bell tolls for thee.

"It is inevitable in this job, that if you do it correctly, you can't always give the answers they want of you."

Mayor Phil Silver would not be drawn on the reasons for the decision, or for its secrecy.

"There is no acrimony," he said.

"There is a healthy working relationship between council and Mr McPherson. But council decided it was time to move on.

"Stuart came to Ballina to reform council structure and he has achieved that." Mr McPherson, who has been with the council nearly five years, believes he has helped ensure that community consultation is more than a token effort.



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