‘We’re not going anywhere’ – sacked council GM emotional amid town’s massive support

More than 300 people were at the Kyogle Bowlo to support Graham Kennett (centre) and his family. This photo was taken on a panoramic setting on the iPhone to try and capture everyone.

Susanna Freymark

Four days ago, Graham Kennett was sacked from his job as general manager at Kyogle Council.

The dismissal came suddenly at the end of the final meeting for the year. Read about what happened at that meeting here.

Today, Thursday, December 14 was an emotional night for Mr Kennett and his family.

More than 300 people turned up at the Kyogle Bowling Club to support the Kennetts.

Mr Kennett said community is worth way more than a job.

“It’s been a hard week for us this week but you’ve come out and supported us,” he said.

“My family is staying here. We’re not going anywhere.”

Mr Kennett moved to Kyogle from Griffith 25 years ago. He met Mel Burley and was welcomed into the Burley family.

He said he was sacked for “no reason – nothing.”

“No reason other than spite and vindication.”

Former Kyogle mayor Ross Brown said he had never seen anything like Mr Kennett’s swift dismissal before.

Ross Brown, right, was Kyogle mayor in the 90s.

Councillor and former mayor Danielle Mulholland has worked closely with Mr Kennett for years and she was on the interview panel when he applied for the GM role.

“He was the best choice for Kyogle then – he is the best choice now.”

Not everyone liked Mr Kennett but they respected him, she said.

“That is the nature of leadership.

“His dismissal is an appalling abuse of power.”

Former Kyogle councillor Earle Grundy was at the gathering – having travelled from the Gold Coast where he now lives.

Former Kyogle councillor Earle Grundy spoke to the crowd.

Mr Grundy was concerned about the five councillors who voted to sack Mr Kennett.

“If they get away with this, I’m scared for what will happen to the council in the next eight months.”

Resident and businessman David Scarrabelotti said the “battle is not over”.

There are eight more monthly council meetings until the council elections.

David Scarrabelotti had his say.

Robin Harley urged the crowd to put their hand up to become a councillor when the time came.

There were tears, fighting words and dismay about what had happened at that Monday meeting.

There is another council meeting on Tuesday, December 19th at 2pm meeting to discuss the council’s financial report. This is done every year and is usually a non-event.

This time, the crowd has been urged to turn up and protest outside the council chambers before the meeting.

There is also a petition in shops around town and in villages calling for the council to be sacked and for an investigation.

Here is Mr Kennett’s statement about the dismissal.

Graham and Mel Kennett with their children at the bowling club. Photos: Susanna Freymark
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