Lismore City Councillors last night voted to terminate the employment contract of its General Manager Shelley Oldham under a no-fault clause, effective immediately.
Newly elected Mayor Vanessa Ekins said Michael Donnelly will take on the role Caretaker General Manager until a new General Manager is recruited for 12 months, allowing the new Council elected in September to appoint its own General Manager.
“The last 12 months have been particularly hard for Council staff and Councillors due to a series of natural disasters,” she said.
“Councillors decided last night that it was time to move on from the past and focus on the upcoming budget and the continuation of Councils’ transformation program so that we can better meet the needs of our community.
“Mr Donnelly has been appointed as Caretaker General Manager as we search for a new person to take on the role for the next 12 months. After that it will be up to the newly elected Council to recruit their own General Manager.
“We decided to do it this way because it is important that whoever the new Councillors are after the September elections, that they get to decide their priorities and attributes they want in a General Manager.
“Last night was the first night in more than 11 months that Councillors have been able to meet in the same room and not use Zoom.
“While the decision to terminate the employment of Mrs Oldham may surprise some in the community, I want to assure everyone that the Council will continue to pick up rubbish bins, fix our roads and mow our parks.
“I would also like to acknowledge Mrs Oldham’s hard work and commitment to Council since she was appointed in October 2018.”
Mr Donnelly said he was excited to take up the caretaker role.
“I know this area well as I grew up here and I am looking forward to this role. I have been privileged to work in very senior management position around the world and look forward to bringing that experience to Lismore City Council,” he said.
Mr Donnelly is a qualified engineer and holds a Masters of Law degree. He has previously been the Chief Executive of a state-owned trading corporation which had a 3000-strong workforce and revenues of $500 million, as well as the Regional Director of NSW Public Works for the North Coast of NSW.