24 February 2021

Bega Valley Shire Council general manager Leanne Barnes calls it a day

| Sharon Kelley
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Leanne Barnes.

Leanne Barnes will finish up as Bega Valley Shire Council’s general manager in late 2021. Photo: Supplied.

Bega Valley Shire Council general manager Leanne Barnes will stand down after eight years in the role, and 19 years in total with the council.

Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said Ms Barnes has formally advised councillors of her intention not to seek a renewal of her contract when it expires later in 2021.

Mayor Fitzpatrick said that while the announcement was not unexpected, it will be a huge loss for the Bega Valley.

“Leanne has been an integral part of council for more than 19 years, including eight as general manager,” he said.

“During this time, Leanne has assisted council to deliver a range of significant infrastructure, services and changes.

“She led the organisation through the Black Summer bushfires and four local flooding events, while also dealing with the impact of COVID-19, as well as the Tathra and district and Yankees Gap fires in 2018, the 2016 East Coast low, and 2014 flood events.

“Council has resolved to commence the recruitment process now and has renamed the position to that of chief executive officer so onboarding can be completed prior to the commencement of the caretaker period ahead of the next council election, providing stability and a smooth transition for Bega Valley.”

READ ALSO Bega Valley mayor hits back at suggestions that GM has lost council’s confidence

In line with standard local government guidelines for the recruitment, the selection process will be led by the Mayor and councillors, with support from an external recruitment agency and council’s people and governance manager.

“My decision not to request a renewal of my current contract doesn’t change our current work or priorities,” said Ms Barnes.

“We have a dedicated leadership team and I am proud of what we have achieved during the past eight years.

“We are in a strong position to ensure a smooth transition for the organisation during the coming months, and the leadership team and I will do everything we can to ensure this.

“In the meantime, we have a lot more to achieve and I am committed to leading the organisation with the best interests of the community and staff at the forefront of everything we do.”

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