Call for proactive planning

Terry Dodds who is leaving council after being appointed chief executive of Tenterfield Council.

Terry Dodds who is leaving council after being appointed chief executive of Tenterfield Council.

With the sudden resignation of council’s transport and utilities director Terry Dodds, ex-mayor Michael Britten is calling on council to appoint “a progressive head of engineering”.

Mr Dodds who has been with council for about 18 months, has been appointed chief executive at Tenterfield Council, in the New England region and an acting director is expected to be appointed in three weeks. 

The transport and utilities portfolio is a busy one with major work scheduled for Merimbula Airport and studies starting on the Merimbula ocean outfall. Mr Dodds has been widely commended for his comprehensive review of the asset management plan.

Council said it expected it will take up to three months to appoint a new director.

“Work on the airport will continue during this period. All queries related to the airport will be directed to the general manager and the acting director, when they take over in three weeks’ time,” a council spokeswoman said.

However former mayor Michael Britten believes it is an opportunity to inject cultural change into the entire engineering department of council.

He is calling for a more “proactive rather than reactive” approach to development and planning and has suggested that planners are stymied by the engineers.

“No effort has been made to reform the rules by which development occurs and the overlay of state legislation that adds to the complexities,” Mr Britten said in reference to NSW Planning rules which have prevented Bunnings from building in Tura Beach because Tura is still classed as a village.

Behind the scenes there is believed to be some disquiet among senior staff who feel they are “at the political coalface” according to one insider.

However there could be further staff turmoil ahead after council went into confidential session at the last meeting, Wednesday, August 30 to discuss “organisational structure”. Fairfax Media understands this to be a reference to the number of directors in the organisation and a desire on the part of some councillors to see a change.