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Council coughs up big bucks in search for new GM

Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons and director corporate Ashley Lindsay discuss the agenda before the start of the extraordinary meeting held at Clarence Valley Council chambers on Friday, 3rd of March, 2016.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons and director corporate Ashley Lindsay discuss the agenda before the start of the extraordinary meeting held at Clarence Valley Council chambers on Friday, 3rd of March, 2016. Tim Howard

WITH talk of budget blowouts and affirmative Special Rate Variation votes, Clarence Valley Council has put aside $35,000 in the budget to hire a new general manager.

Mayor Jim Simmons said the figure was a provisional amount that would cover a number of costs associated with the hiring process.

"A tender of a hiring firm to handle the hiring process up to a certain stage would involve advertising for the position and probably some travel expenses for the consultant," Cr Simmons said.

"The actual consultancy fee I don't think would be less than 50% of that, the other make up of that provision. It may not even come to that, it may be in the area of $25,000.

"Council has a section there that could do the same job, but we would leave ourselves open to criticism if we went down that path rather than through an outside firm."

The Local Government Act of 1996 dictates that councils must advertise senior positions in a statewide, daily newspaper.

Cr Simmons envisages that after the consultancy firm has found a number of possible candidates, the councillors would take over the final steps of the process.

"Say they had eight or 10 candidates, they would put their criteria or qualifications before the councillors who would then select maybe four or five to interview," he said.

"The whole of the council would decide who to interview and then conduct the interview to make the final decision."

The mayor assured The Daily Examiner the whole process would be as transparent as possible.

"There is no secrecy or hidden agenda," he said.

"Although some of the information that relates to some of the candidates may be confidential.

"Hopefully we see a lot different communication from council, a lot more communication I mean."

Cr Simmons said as part of this more open communication, some councillors would be in Grafton Shoppingworld today from 12pm so members of the public could approach councillors directly to discuss issues that matter to the community.

Acting general manager Ashley Lindsay is among the names of council employees who could potentially apply for the job.

"I hope that Ashley applies for the position, I expect he would," Cr Simmons said.

"Ashley has very good qualifications and has been with the council for a number of years in the Clarence Valley.

"But we have to go through a competitive process, so we will just have to wait and see what the outcome is."

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