Meeting about Sawtell resignation

THERE are doubts whether the extraordinary meeting of the Coffs Harbour City Council set down for tomorrow evening will completely resolve all the issues surrounding last week’s shock resignation of the general manager Stephen Sawtell.

The meeting was called on Thursday night after a highly secretive gathering in the office of the mayor at which it is believed the settlement terms for the general manager’s departure were discussed.

It is believed Mr Sawtell resigned Thursday morning, just eight months into his second four year contract as general manager.

Councillor Mark Graham remains the only one of those present at the secretive meeting who has spoken publicly.

He has not disclosed any matters of a confidential nature but said he is alarmed by some aspects of the matter.

“I am becoming increasingly concerned by potential breaches of the Local Government Act and the more advice I get, the more my concerns are growing,” Cr Graham said.

“I have written to the chief executive of the Department of Local Government calling for an independent and thorough inquiry into the handling of this matter by both the mayor and the general manager.

“The core issues will be of vital interest to the public and so need to be reviewed externally in an open and transparent way.”

Tuesday night’s extraordinary council meeting will be closed to the public but the outcome of it should be at least mentioned at Thursday night’s regular council meeting.

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