THE combination of John Turner as administrator and Glenn Handford as interim general manager of the newly formed MidCoast Council was a wise choice according to Nationals state member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead.
He has, however, expressed some misgivings about the way the announcement was made and the impact it's had on ex-mayor Jan McWilliams.
Related: Emotional and distressing time for ex-mayor...click here
"If I was doing it I might have done it differently but I hope she would be considered by the administrator for the steering committee.” (see story below)
He was full of praise for interim general manager Glenn Handford and describes him as the obvious choice for the role.
Related: Interim GM urges community to look ahead...click here
"Everybody has got to recognise that he is one of the best general managers in all of NSW. Glenn has helped turn the Great Lakes around from being a basket case (in the early 90s and early 2000s) to being one of the most outstanding councils in the state."
In relation to newly appointed administrator John Turner he was also full of praise. Mr Turner was the State Member for Myall Lakes for the National Party from 1988 to 2011 before Mr Bromhead was elected.
He has defended what some have described as a 'jobs for the boys' appointment.
After the announcement on Thursday ex-Nationals member Rob Oakeshott, who went on to be elected as an independent for the federal seat of Lyne in 2008 and famously backed Julia Gillard and Labor to form a minority government, tweeted:
"My goodness - jobs for boys. John Turner spent his National Party days kicking the tripe out of local councils. Now he's boss?”
Greens candidate for the seat of Lyne in the upcoming July election has echoed these concerns.
"The appointment of a former National Party deputy leader as council administrator shows that the whole exercise is a National/Liberal Party ploy to destroy participatory democracy in this region. The government is now so blatant in its disregard for true, transparent process across the board it actually sees no issue with a ‘job for the boys’ appointment in what should be the peoples’ process,” Ms Lyford stated.
Greens MP David Shoebridge has said Mr Turner was not the kind of person the locals want in charge and expressed concerns over his links with the mining industry.
"We know that John Turner was appointed by Whitehaven Coal, effectively helicoptered in by them to run the committee to try and as best they can neuter community opposition to the expansion of their coal operation," Mr Shoebridge said.
John Turner has responded by saying he was the independent chair of the Whitehaven community consultative committee, and was paid a fee to chair the meetings.
He said the Greens were playing politics by suggesting he was in the pocket of the mining industry.
"I disregard totally what the Greens say," he said.
"I think they are playing mischief.
Mr Bromhead has also dismissed these remarks and said Mr Turner was the obvious choice for the role.
“John is obviously very familiar with the area, but more importantly he understands the interaction between NSW Government and local government which will be vital over the period of his administration.
“In my view it is far better to have a person with his knowledge and understanding than someone from Sydney with no local knowledge,” he stated.