New Bayside Administrator Greg Wright has promised he will be more than just a placeholder of the new council.
“I’m not interested in being a caretaker,’’ he said.
‘’My view is that I’m here to run the council for the next 12 months and if there are long term decisions that need to be made I’ll make them and I’ll make them in the best interests of the community.’’
A boy from south west Sydney he has had a long career in local government first as a general manager at various councils and then for the last three years as the administrator for the Central Darling Shire Council.
He said his previous position was a world away from the streets of Rockdale.
‘’I looked out the window at the street and I think there’s probably more people in the space of a block here than in the whole shire out there,’’ he said.
‘’It’s very different.’’
He has been in the new job for just under two weeks and said there had been a flurry of activity since.
‘’I think we’re doing the swan thing at the moment where everything is calm on the surface and below the surface we’re paddling like blazes,’’ he said.
‘’The staff and management have done an extraordinary job. There was some preparedness beforehand which has helped me hit the ground running.’’
He acknowledge that while the amalgamation hadn’t been supported by everyone in the community there was some relief in finally having a decision.
‘’I think the community has gotten to a point where it’s just accepted that the merge was going forward,’’ he said.
‘’I don’t think it was ambivalence but it’s more about if that’s the way it is, let’s just get on with it.’’
While his first few days have been spent going through a mountain of statutory work he’s looking forward to going out and seeing more of the community including finding a new local coffee shop.
‘’Over the next few weeks we’re going to get around and get a better understanding of the area because I’m not that familiar with the area generally,’’ he said.
‘’My intention over the next 12 months is to have a very high level of community engagement and to get to as many events as I can.’’
He said coming from outside the area meant he didn’t have any preconceptions of the different communities of Rockdale and Botany.
‘’I’m almost completely unfamiliar with the area so those previous boundaries don’t really mean that much to me,’’ he said.
“I’ve thought of it as one community right from the get go.
‘’I’m interested in building and leaving behind a council that is completely transparent and that decisions are made in a equitable and just way.
‘’Some of that will mean changes to the way things were done particularly around the development assessment area.’’
Bayside interim General Manager Meredith Wallace said most residents wouldn’t notice a change at all.
‘’The doors keep opening for all our facilities and the services still continue. We really wanted to have it so streamlined that people didn’t even notice that there was much change,’’ she said.
‘’The message has consistently been for no change to services or service levels.’’