One of Wagga City Council’s longest-serving senior employees has called on councillors to search locally for a replacement for departed general manager Phil Pinyon.
Brian Andrews, who served as town clerk and then general manager from 1984 to 2001 and then as a councillor from 2004 to 2008, believes a local appointment would help to end the revolving door that has plagued the role for more than a decade.
Since Mr Andrews retired from the general manager role, three of his four permanent successors – Graeme Faulkner, Lyn Russell and now Phil Pinyon – have resigned prematurely, while the other, Phillip Perram, was sacked.
Mr Pinyon’s resignation last Thursday came three days after councillors voted to suspend him from his role on full pay after considering a damning external auditor’s report into the $2.5 million loan to Douglas Aerospace.
At the time of Mr Andrews’ retirement as general manager, just three people had served as council’s top employee in the previous 61 years – himself, Bill Ellis and Frank Burns.
A personal commitment to the city is essential for whoever steps into the breach as Wagga’s new general manager, Mr Andrews believes.
“Look for people who have an ambition to be a part of the community,” he said.
“It was a 24-hour job as far as I was concerned but I loved it.”
Mr Andrews was critical of the process used to find and appoint general managers since his departure, with councillors perceived to have relied to heavily on external consultants to recommend candidates in his eyes.
“Not saying consultants don’t do a good job, but they don’t have a great track record,” he said, pointing to the recent frequent turnover.
“I wouldn’t want to have them picking my horses for the Melbourne Cup in a few weeks’ time.”
Mayor Rod Kendall said nothing had been ruled in or out so far in the search for a new general manager.
“Absolutely everything’s on the table,” he said.
Councillors will meet early next week to set the parameters for the hiring process, which will begin immediately after.
Cr Kendall was cagey on whether he would prefer a local candidate, or someone further afield, and said that would be a decision made with the consensus of other councillors.
“The whole elected council needs to be involved in the process,” he said.
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