New GM has a strong record

RICHMOND Valley Council has revealed the identity of its new general manager - John Walker - a Sydneysider with a long history in local government.

Mr Walker was appointed to the top spot this month after outgoing general manager Brian Wilkinson announced he would retire on March 2.

The new GM was selected from 32 applicants and has an impressive career in local government and managerial rolls.

He occupied the positions of chief executive officer and deputy chief executive officer at various councils including Perth City Council, Liverpool City Council and councils in Victoria.

As well as being managing director of Thrifty Car Rental, he was also national head of sales at Westpac Banking Corporation.

Mr Walker is currently chairman and Trustee of Sydney's Centennial Park- lands, which is an $800 million community asset.

Richmond Valley Mayor Col Sullivan hoped Mr Walker could use his wealth of experience to assist with council's financial management, which can be a "problem" area.

"He is a person with a very professional ability and experience in private enterprise and finance. He has experience in local government and will have an independent view of the place," he said.

After completing his final interview, Mr Walker got to know his local government surroundings with a small holiday at Evans Head last week, much to the pleasure of his council counterparts.

"He has made an effort to get to know the area," Cr Sullivan said. "He is looking forward to coming to the North Coast environment and has expressed a desire to live within the Richmond Valley area, which will please many ratepayers.

"He intends to be very active in the community."

Cr Sullivan paid tribute to the retiring general manager, who will be "dearly missed".

"I would like to say thank you to Brian Wilkinson for eight years of service," Cr Sullivan said.

"I believe he did a very good job.

"It was a difficult job at a difficult time and he will be dearly missed. He was very loyal to council and his staff."

Mr Walker will take up his new post on March 12.

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