CEO showdown in court as Minister called in

12th May 2020

A planned meeting of Armidale Regional Council on Monday did not go ahead after a temporary injunction put a stop to the vote which would have seen the CEO’s contract terminated. The temporary injunction was issued by the Land and Environment Court, and the meeting has now been adjourned to June 10th.
On Tuesday, the Land and Environment Court was hearing further arguments into the matter. A statement issued by ARC said that as the matter is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate to issue any further comment at this time.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has now requested the urgent intervention of the Minister for Local Government to resolve what he says are ‘significant issues of dysfunction within Armidale Regional Council.’
In a statement released on Tuesday he said that in his observation, relationships within the Council including those between individual Councillors, between the governing body and the executive arm and between the council and the community – has deteriorated to the extent where the situation is irretrievable, with effective and proper governance of the council now not possible.
“It is obvious to even the most casual observer that the elected body is fractured and split into two distinct ‘camps’ who have been unable to resolve their differences,” Mr Marshall said. “This situation has not occurred overnight, but has progressively become worse, culminating in two recent attempts to call extraordinary meetings to terminate the General Manager’s contract of employment.”
“I fear the personal enmity and resultant bullying between individuals is permeating through the organisation and this is impacting, not just morale, but actual performance of the Council.”
“While all this has been taking place, the community has also been expressing its concerns.  It is fair to say that confidence in the Council’s ability to provide effective and united leadership, to be a voice for the region and deliver on priorities and needs of the region at this difficult time, has been severely shaken, if not lost completely.”
“Therefore, with a heavy heart, I respectfully requested the Minister’s intervention in having her officials from the NSW Office of Local Government immediately commence an investigation into the conduct and governance of Armidale Regional Council.
“I hope this can be expedited to ensure this untenable situation is not allowed to continue and become ‘business as usual’.
“I had hoped Council would have been able to resolve its internal differences and get back to focussing on and working together for the community, but I am now of the view that is not possible. I expect to hear back from the Minister soon.