Byron Shire GM’s Successes Recognised by Councillors
THE EARLY retirement of Byron Shire Council’s General Manager Ken Gainger has prompted positive acknowledgement of his achievements from Shire Councillor we contacted by Voice of Byron yesterday.
Councillors were quick to respond to our request for “a few lines” about Ken’s unexpected early retirement which will be effective late January 2018.
Cr Paul Spooner spoke of Ken’s valuable contributions to the successful management processes Ken introduced.
“Ken Gainger has made a valuable contribution to the management of Byron Shire Council over the last 5 years.
“His extensive experience of local government greatly assisted the decision making processes of both Councillors and staff.
“During his time he managed to oversee a much needed streamlining of council processes and executive staffing positions.
“A major legacy will be his oversight in beginning the Byron Bay Masterplan project.
“A project that will influence the shape of the town for many years to come.
“Ken leaves council to enjoy a much deserved retirement.“
Cr Alan Hunter expressed disappointment at Ken’s early retirement.
“Ken’s earned his stripes. The Shire was considered in a ‘weak and deteriorating’ financial position by TCorp, as the NSW State Treasury calls itself.
“We were at the top of the list for considerations for amalgamation when Ken was approved as Council General Manager by the previous Council”.
“He clearly identified the need for Byron not to amalgamate, took the appropriate action, and in a very short time we were deemed ‘fit for the future’ by TCorp.
“It’s extremely disappointing that Ken’s gotten us through the toughest of the times, the decision making processes of tightening our belt, reigning in the excessive amount of waste, and getting us onto a different approach to our Council finances, only to retire early.
“I sincerely thank Ken for all his fine work and wish him all the very best in his retirement.”
Cr Cate Coorey also recognised Ken’s achievements in getting Byron Shire Council’s finances under control.
“Ken did great work with Council’s finances, enabling us to avoid amalgamation when it was a very real threat.
“Local government can be pretty tough for a new councillor; Ken’s personal style and good humour has been very welcome.
“I have always appreciated the courtesy, and professionalism Ken has shown towards me as a councillor.
“After 50 plus years in local government, Ken Gainger can deservedly rest on his laurels.”
Cr Sarah Ndiaye, like the other Councillors we spoke to, paid tribute to Ken’s financial management, and also to his warmth as a person.
“I’m sorry to hear of Ken Gainger’s ill health and subsequent retirement.
“Ken has helped steer the ship out of dangerous territory when it comes to Council’s finances and we are in a much better position because of it.
“While there are some decisions he made I did not agree with, he was always a great person to work with and for – always encouraging professional growth and opportunity (I worked at council casually at various times in the past).
“Being the GM or working in local government in Byron Shire is no easy task.
“The demands on people’s professional and personal life can be extremely taxing but his warmth, humour and depth of experience made it much easier.
“He will be sorely missed by many and I wish him all the best in his retirement.”