Dubbo Regional Council has a new general manager, with Infrastructure and Operations Director Chris Devitt to fill the role on an interim basis following the shock resignation of Mark Riley on Thursday.
The Daily Liberal understands Mr Riley - who has been in the role for 13 years after starting in November 2004 - left the council building about lunchtime, with an email circulated to senior staff telling them he would not be returning to the role.
Several sources have indicated he left after a delegation of councillors approached him to indicate they had the numbers to have him removed from his role, with the likely event of the issue being raised at this Monday’s meeting of the council.
It is expected Mr Riley’s resignation will be tabled as a special motion at that meeting and the termination of his employment will be formalised.
When contacted about the matter, Mayor Ben Shields would neither confirm or deny the departure of Mr Riley, saying he would not comment on staff-related matters.
But some of the newly-elected Dubbo Regional councillors are said to be angry about the matter, which came as a shock to them
The move comes just five months after former council administrator Michael Kneipp extended Mr Riley’s contract for a three-year period, with his total remuneration package for the first year being $305,000. He will be given a 38-week payout upon finalisation of the matter.
That decision caused angst among the community, with many questioning why the former Dubbo City Council general manager, who acted in the role during the amalgamation with Wellington Shire Council, didn’t have to apply for the position when directors on the new entity had been forced to go through the process.
At the time, Mr Kneipp said he had no hesitation in offering Mr Riley another contract as the merger had come in the middle of a four-year contract and he wanted to continue with the former Dubbo council’s path.
With Mr Riley gone, Mr Devitt will step into the role as interim general manager after starting with Dubbo Regional Council in September.
He joined the organisation after 11 years as Director of Technical Services at Orange City Council, with prior experience working as general manager of Forbes Shire Council.