Bureaucrat in mayor?s chair

By PETER CATON

THE Tweed is about to get 'the mayor you have when you don't have a mayor' - a new $160,000-a-year bureaucrat.

Earning more than four times the pay of Tweed's formerly elected mayors, the new shire chief will assist the three government appointed administrators.

The "Executive Officer to the Administrators" will also be the first port of call for members of the public wanting to discuss council and development issues.

The official's salary is to be paid for by the NSW government - but that hasn't appeased some community leaders who yesterday ridiculed the appointment.

According to former mayor Warren Polglase the decision to appoint the official - tipped to sit in the third-floor mayoral office in the council headquarters at Murwillumbah - proves the administrators have "lost interest".

The administrators, Garry Payne and Lucy Turnbull who are based in Sydney, and former Tweed mayor Max Boyd, voted for the position at Tuesday's council meeting.

Chief administrator Garry Payne, who is also director general of the NSW Department of Local Government, said it had "become apparent that a more formal and permanent level of administrative and policy support needs to be available for the administrators individually and collectively".

"It would be beneficial to have a suitable senior person available full time for com- munity consultation when the administrators are otherwise engaged or not available."

Mr Polglase said the appointment was "ridiculous".

"The administrators...don't have commitment and haven't got the know-how to keep the Tweed at least what it was a year ago," he said.

Mr Polglase added the officer might be "the mayor you have when you don't have a mayor" but would not have any real responsibility.

"People would not know who they are dealing with. He would be subservient to the administrators and never able to give an answer."

Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce president John Murray said the officer's salary was roughly the cost of the previous 11 elected coun- cillors.



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