Bayside Council general manager has contract extended

Returning: Bayside Council interim general manager Meredith Wallace has had her contract extended for another five years. Picture: John Veage

Returning: Bayside Council interim general manager Meredith Wallace has had her contract extended for another five years. Picture: John Veage

Bayside Council interim General Manager Meredith Wallace has been appointed for a further five years.

Ms Wallace had been appointed as general manager to the former Rockdale Council in November 2011 and took the same position in the newly merged council.

Her contract was due to expire on November, 29, with council required to give her at least three months notice of their plans before the contract expired.

Administrator Greg Wright confirmed the contract had been extended until 2022 during the council meeting on Wednesday night.

Former Botany Bay councillor Brian Troy spoke at the meeting and said the proposal was improper.

‘’This administration was appointed to be a transition from two councils to the combined merged one,’’ he said.

‘’The administration is not intended to take over and continue to run the new organisation, merely to help it get started.

‘’By appointing the present incumbent to a five-year term turns it from a interim general manager into a proper general manager. That is a massive difference in the situation.

‘’It is anti-democratic because it removes the right of the new council to decide on its own general manager; a right and duty given under the Local Government Act.’’

He said former councillors had not been informed of the plan and it would see the new council unable to decide on their own general manager for at least two terms.

Member for Heffron Ron Hoenig also spoke at the meeting in support of the appointment.

‘’Ms Wallace is, from my 30 years experience in local government, quite an exceptional general manager in a profession that does not boast that many successful general managers,’’ he said.

‘’She has assiduously stabilised and brought together two very different organisations. She has a brilliant strategic mind and she is on top of every conceivable detail of every particular area.’’

Administrator Greg Wright said Ms Wallace was well regarded by staff and the community.

‘’I firmly believe that the extension of the general manager's contract is an essential component of ensuring the ongoing success of the merger of Bayside Council,’’ he said.

‘’I understand Mr Troy’s concerns about binding future councils. The reality is, as I’m sure Mr Troy is aware as a former councillor, all general manager contracts have provisions in them that allow for those contracts to be terminated for any reason at any time regardless of the length remaining.

‘’So I don’t believe under the circumstances that I’m binding the council unduly.

‘’I have to say I have been extremely satisfied with Ms Wallace’s performance as general manager and her leadership of the the organisation during this complex, difficult, and challenging merger process.

‘’I consider myself very fortunate as administrator to have Ms Wallace and her support and enthusiasm for the process during the transition period.’’

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