Coffs' new boss takes reins

NEWLY appointed general manager Steve McGrath has spent his first day at the helm of the Coffs Harbour City Council.

Mr McGrath is the fifth general manager to assume the role in 20 years.

He has taken up the position following the controversial departure of former general manager Stephen Sawtell in August.

Arriving in Coffs Harbour with an extensive history in local government, Mr McGrath will be responsible for managing the council's $191 million operating budget.

He steps into the role having served as the NSW manager of Morrison Low Consultants, delivering capacity-building projects with local government clients in five Australian states.

“Two years in to my role in consultancy and I realised there was one element really missing and that's the daily interaction with people,” Mr McGrath said.

“My number one priority here is to firstly better understand this role, develop relationships internally and externally and develop strategies to address council issues.

“I'm getting to know the local area, and have already spent a couple of weeks getting settled in.”

A seasoned general manger, Mr McGrath spent 18 years overseeing shire councils at Singleton and Young. He has also previously served as a State and national president of the Local Government Managers Australia.

In his official welcome, Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades said Mr McGrath's experience and professionalism would be a great asset to the council.

“Steve has exceptional knowledge in so many facets of local government,” Cr Rhoades said.

“He comes to the position following council's recent $400- million investment in community facilities . . . at a time when the local government area is experiencing a growth rate of two per cent and the infrastructure is now in place.

“Steve's role, therefore, will be to develop further infrastructure in Coffs Harbour that's more related to everyday mums and dads and families. He'll concentrate on more community focused infrastructure.”

Mr McGrath, a father of three, is leasing a property at the Jetty and will soon be joined by his partner, Christine.

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