THEY?RE OUT TO GET ME!
By NERIDA BLOK firstname.lastname@example.org
A DEATH threat and a NSW Government witch-hunt are some of the amazing claims in the biggest local government crisis to hit the Northern Rivers in years.
Kyogle Council general manager Ken Davies is fighting for his survival amid criticism of his performance and the fact he only spends two days a week in Kyogle.
In return, Mr Davies says a State Government investigation announced this week is a witch-hunt to 'get him', and could be a backdoor means to force the council to amalgamate with surrounding shires.
Mr Davies, a former Queensland Minister in the Goss Government, has divided his seven and a half years as general manager between Kyogle and Brisbane, where his wife works and children attend school.
Mr Davies makes startling claims in his report to next Monday's council meeting.
Defending his decision to stay overnight in Kyogle only 'when absolutely necessary', Mr Davies said he had been the subject of a death threat by a former employee
The former employee, he alleges, had threatened to 'go down there and slit the general manager's throat'.
Mr Davies, who is currently on sick leave, also revealed he wanted to spend more time with his family following the suicide of his eldest son in 2003.
The allegations against Mr Davies were raised at a meeting in Sydney last month, called by the Minister for Local Government, Kerry Hickey.
Kyogle mayor Ernie Bennett and other Department of Local Government representatives attended the meeting, which Mr Davies said was meant to be about issues relating to Crown reserve and industrial matters.
However, the Minister raised a number of complaints about the general manager, including the time he spent in Kyogle, that he employed standover tactics and wasted money on legal fees.
Yesterday, Mr Davies said he believed it was in the public interest to get the issues out in the open, even though he said it was stressful for him.
"I call upon those who have lodged complaints with the Minister to air those complaints publicly, rather than hiding behind the cloak of anonymity," he said.
Department of Local Government director-general Garry Payne said the investigation was the result of a number of complaints received about Kyogle Council operations.
Mr Payne said the investigation aimed to determine whether the council's