The NSW Government has suspended Wingecarribee Shire Council and appointed Interim Administrator Mr Viv May PSM for a three-month period.
NSW Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock made the decision to suspend Council after considering its submission in response to a notice of intention received on March 3.
Mrs Hancock said the suspension followed serious concerns about the council’s ability to function properly and effectively following a worsening and ongoing breakdown of relationships between councillors and senior staff.
She said that under the Local Government Act, all councillors were required to work together in the best interests of the community.
“It is clear that the elected body of Wingecarribee Shire Council is incapable of addressing the dysfunction itself and fulfilling this important duty,” the Minister said.
Viv May PSM, who has half a century of experience in the NSW local government sector, has been appointed interim administrator.
“Viv May brings the knowledge, skills and experience to restore the proper and effective operation of the council and ensure that the best interests of residents are being served now and in the future,” Mrs Hancock said.
The suspension applies to the mayor and councillors, with the interim administrator performing their functions. The interim administrator’s salary will be the same as the fees paid to the suspended councillors, the Minister said.
Wingecarribee Shire Council’s Acting General Manager, John Burgess said the suspension of the Council and appointment of an Interim Administrator would not affect the delivery of Council services to ratepayers and residents.
“From the public’s point of view, it will be business as usual except that the Interim Administrator will replace the elected councillors,” he said.
“Council services and facilities will continue to operate as per normal.”
“Council’s Executive team looks forward to welcoming Mr May and working together to restore our community’s trust in the effective functioning of their council,” Mr Burgess said.
Prior to receiving the notification of suspension, Council received notification of the resignation of Councillor Garry Turland effective immediately.