Mayor sorry for distress caused by councillors’ action

ABOVE: Before the meeting, mayor Kylie Thomas and Councillor Danielle Mulholland stood on the Kyogle Council chamber steps. Photos: Susanna Freymark

Susanna Freymark

Kyogle mayor Kylie Thomas apologised at the end of today’s extraordinary meeting.

The meeting was about the general manager’s employment and was called by councillors Maggie May and Robert Cullen.

At least 100 council staff protested outside the council chambers before the meeting at 3pm.

More than 250 people were gathered with many holding placards in support of general manager Graham Kennett.

The council meeting was confidential and the public were not entitled to attend.

After the meeting, Ms Thomas issued a statement.

“On behalf of Council I apologise to staff and residents for the distress caused by actions taken by this council and as mayor I shoulder that burden.

“The code of meeting practice and the guideline for the employment and our oversight of GM is set up to protect the privacy of staff – this again I reiterate is the duty of councillors.

“With today’s meeting – contrary to the drama and mayhem caused on Facebook – we have resolved to move into the process of GM Review Committee as per our annual procedure.”

Before the meeting Ms Thomas spoke with the United Services Union rep Peter Kelly.

Mr Kelly told the crowd gathered that Ms Thomas had given her word “that there will not be any discussion around termination of the general manager at tonight’s meeting.”

“That’s off the table,” Mr Kelly said.

“That’s off the table because of everyone out here today, making sure they’ve shown as a council, you are working behind the leader that you want to remain in the job.

“That you don’t want to see council wasting money in the middle of times when they’re doing flood recovery. That money can be spent where it needs to be out in the community.

If the mayor goes against her word and doesn’t follow through with this we’ll be back at the next council meeting, Mr Kelly said.

Here is Mr Kelly speaking to the crowd.

Mr Kennett’s son and daughter were at the council chambers.

At the meeting this resolution was passed:

“That Councillors raise any issues pertaining to the general manager’s performance through the general manager’s Performance Review Committee as required under the general manager’s contract and that Council move forward to the annual review process as soon as possible.”

Ms May and Mr Cullen were contacted for comment.

Here is Ms May arriving at council chambers.

Bob Crawford and Gary Noonan were at the protest to support Graham Kennett.

Richard Vary was there to support the general manager.
Councillor Tom Cooper arrives for the meeting as Kylie Thomas speaks to union rep Peter Kelly.

Cr Hayden Doolan speaks to the public before the meeting.

Cr Maggie May arrives at the meeting.

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