NSW govt suspends Wingecarribee Council

The NSW government has suspended a Southern Highlands local council following conflict between councillors and senior staff.

Wingecarribee Shire Council will be run by an administrator for at least three months, Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock announced on Friday.

Mrs Hancock said the worsening breakdown of relationships between councillors and staff had given her serious concerns about the council’s ability to function.

The elected body of the council was unable to work in the community’s best interests in addressing the dysfunction, she said.

Viv May, who recently finished a spell as interim administrator for Armidale Regional Council, will again act in that role at Wingecarribee. The government says he has half a century of experience in the sector.

“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 in a statement.

On March 3, Mrs Hancock gave the council seven days to explain why it should not be stood down.

She made the suspension decision after considering the council’s submission in response to her notice of intention.

Mediation and training provided to the council members had not resolved the conflict, she said then.

Mr May will perform the functions of the mayor and councillors. The suspension does not affect council staff and daily operations.

The interim administrator’s salary will be the same as the fees paid to the suspended councillors.

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