LOOKING OUT: Stuart McPherson pictured in the general manager?s foyer at the Ballina Shire Council Chambers.
LOOKING OUT: Stuart McPherson pictured in the general manager?s foyer at the Ballina Shire Council Chambers.

Faulks back into the driving seat at Ballina

By DAWN COHEN

AFTER four years' absence Gary Faulks will be back in the driving seat at Ballina Shire Council on January 17.

At an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night, Ballina Shire Council authorised mayor Cr Phil Silver to negotiate the early termination of outgoing general manager Stuart McPherson, and to appoint as acting general manager the man he replaced four years ago.

Mr McPherson will leave on January 14.

He took over from Mr Faulks in 2000 with instructions to update council structures in line with new legislation.

He was the first outsider appointed by council to its chief executive position.

He came to the job as new laws gave general managers increased powers in executive decision-making that had previously lain with councillors.

Last month the council chose not to renew his contract, due to finish in July 2005.

Mayor Phil Silver said the early termination was in the best inter- ests of both parties.

"When someone's contract has not been renewed it can be awkward for him to continue," he said. While Mr McPherson did not look like a happy man yesterday, he continued in his usual professional manner.

"I will take a short break and then review my options," he said.

The 57-year-old will be away until January 10.

Mr Faulks, who worked for the council for 27 years, knew the offer was in the pipeline.

"The mayor spoke to me about it before bringing it up with his committee," he said yesterday.

But the Ballina-born man ruled himself out as a contender for the permanent position.

"The acting general manager is a caretaker role," he said.

"In 2000 I elected not to renew my contract. I won't be going back on that now."

In mid-January the new position will be advertised with a negotiable remuneration package of $160,000 and a term of five years.

Crs Silver, Brown, Johnson and Cadwallader will constitute the selection committee.

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