Payout deal looms as GM walks away

THE Derwent Valley Council is again on the hunt for a new general manager after Dean Griggs quit suddenly last week, part way through his four-year contract.

In a marathon closed meeting on Thursday night, the full council agreed to a proposal “for separation’’ and now lawyers are engaged on both sides to finalise the deal.

Mr Griggs had been in the role for three years and had one year left on his contract, meaning any agreed deal is likely to include a payout of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It is understood staff concerns about Mr Griggs style of leadership prompted his abrupt decision to depart.

Mayor Michelle Dracoulis said that the matter was now between lawyers and she was unable to make further comment.

“All I can say is that as of the meeting last night it’s been decided that we are not working with him anymore,’’ Mrs Dracoulis said.

“The council thanks him for his contribution and wishes him the best for his future.’’

Executive Manager for Infrastructure Ron Sanderson will act in the role while a recruitment program is conducted.

Mr Sanderson was general manager for Brighton Council for 15 years until a few years ago.

The union representing council staff has expressed concerns about the “revolving door’’ of general managers at the council.

Australian Services Union Tasmanian organiser Samantha Batchelor called for transparency in departures.

Ms Batchelor met council staff yesterday.

“Right now we need work- force solutions that address wages, conditions and culture in workplaces,’’ Ms Batchelor said.

“The Minister’s refusal to commit to any structural reform of local government to a mechanism to test community support and the scrutiny of passing both Houses of Parliament is causing anxiety in the workforce.

“Forced amalgamations and the centralisation of services risks everything and solves nothing.

“Transparency is needed in relation to staff departures and decisions that affect workers and communities.

“The ASU stands by workers at Derwent Valley Council and across local government.’’

A council employee contacted the Gazette to express frustration about management.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity saying senior staff had quit due to the management style of the former GM.

They alleged the GM was “too hands on’’ at times in decision making and at other times “too hands off when you expect a GM to be involved’’.

At least two senior staff in the areas of strategy and communications have quit in recent weeks.

Although Mr Griggs quit, his contract appears to ensure he is paid out for at least part of his contract.

The Derwent Valley Council has been a revolving door of general managers with as many as 10 within the last decade.

Mr Griggs predecessor resigned after the “duck gate” controversy where popular Esplanade ducks were euthanised following complaints they were defecating and polluting the area.