Former Lismore City Council general manager Gary Murphy.
Former Lismore City Council general manager Gary Murphy.

Will ex-GM’s work at Lismore council be investigated?

NSW’s Local Government Minister has refused to confirm whether Gary Murphy’s financial management at Lismore City Council will be investigated.

Mr Murphy was sacked from his most recent role as the chief executive of Central Coast Council, which is facing massive debts of more than $500 million.

Dick Persson, administrator at Central Coast Council, has publicly spoken of “catastrophic” failure and “poor financial management,” during Mr Murphy’s time in office.

Mr Murphy was the general manager at Lismore council for seven years.

The Northern Star asked Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock whether she would direct Mr Persson to look into Mr Murphy’s handling of finances during his time at Lismore.

Minister for local government Shelley Hancock. Picture: Sue Graham
Minister for local government Shelley Hancock. Picture: Sue Graham

A $6 million deficit was made public nine months after his departure from the council, following a two-month due diligence study by independent consultants.

At the time, the council’s newly appointed general manager, Shelley Oldham, said the governance problems were “across the board”, and called the deficit a “failure” of management and governance.

A spokesman from Ms Hancock’s office said the governing body or administrator of a council was responsible for appointing a general manager, for “monitoring the general manager’s performance and where necessary terminating their employment”.

INVESTIGATION: The NSW Minister Local Government has not said if she will direct Central Coast Council Administrator Dick Persson AM, (above) to look at the financial position former CCC general manager Gary Murphy left Lismore City Council when he departed.
INVESTIGATION: The NSW Minister Local Government has not said if she will direct Central Coast Council Administrator Dick Persson AM, (above) to look at the financial position former CCC general manager Gary Murphy left Lismore City Council when he departed.

“The administrator of Central Coast Council exercised his right to terminate the employment of general manager Gary Murphy,” he said.

“Anybody with any evidence should refer it to the appropriate investigative or regulatory body.”

“The Office of Local Government is continuing to support the interim administrator of Central Coast Council in undertaking his duties, including recruitment of a new general manager,” the spokesman said.