Oberon appoints new acting general manager after controversy over reappointment

ANNOUNCEMENT: Oberon mayor Kathy Sajowitz.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Oberon mayor Kathy Sajowitz.

OBERON Council has a new acting general manager – but still no resolution on its proposed forced merger with Bathurst.

Oberon mayor Kathy Sajowitz says director of finance and community services Lynette Safranek has been appointed to the acting general manager position after controversy over the reappointment of the previous acting general manager.

Under the Local Government Act, a person may only hold the position for a maximum of 12 months.

When Oberon Council reappointed its acting general manager Gary Wallace in October, in breach of the act, it received a notice of intention to issue a Performance Improvement Order from the Office of Local Government.

The Office of Local Government said Oberon Council was advised by Local Government Minister Paul Toole not to reappoint Mr Wallace, but Cr Sajowitz said she considered the option to terminate the acting general manager’s current appointment and then reappoint him to the position was a “valid action”.

The Oberon mayor also said a potential solution to the problem was ignored when Oberon put it forward to the Office of Local Government and reassured her community that the council was serving it in a “strong and transparent manner”.

In announcing Ms Safranek’s appointment to the position, Cr Sajowitz acknowledged it was not an easy period for Oberon Council.

”Lynette will continue on with the great work Gary has done over the past year during what can only be described as challenging times for Oberon Council,” she said.

“Despite this, council has approved one of the biggest budgets in its history and is working hard to progress the projects and programs highlighted in its operational plan and delivery program.

“I and other councillors look forward to working with Lynette and keeping up the momentum for council.”

The notice of intention about the reappointment of the acting GM was Oberon Council’s second in less than a fortnight.

The first was when Oberon Council missed the deadline to lodge its audited financial reports.

The NSW Government’s proposed forced council merger between Bathurst and Oberon remains stalled due to a legal appeal. 

A number of councils are waiting to see the outcome of Woollahra Council’s Supreme Court appeal against its merger before they decide whether to continue their own appeals.