The Local Representative Committee for the Snowy Valleys Council is down another member, with the resignation of Tumbarumba’s Julie Giddings on Thursday.
It’s the second departure of an LRC member in only a few days, with Tumut’s Scott Stevenson being dismissed by Administrator Paul Sullivan last week for criticising the Tumut-Tumbarumba merger in the Tumut and Adelong Times.
However, Ms Giddings said the timing was a coincidence.
“To be honest I’d been considering it since Christmas, mainly because I didn’t feel that I was really contributing to any of the decision making,” she said.
“Also, it had been spoken to me that because I was supportive of the Save Our Shire Tumbarumba group that it was a conflict of interest, so to speak.
“I don’t have any intention of running for council at the end of the year, and I thought I was better off supporting Save Our Shire than the Local Representative Committee.”
The Local Representative Committee is an advisory body for the Administrator and the team coordinating the amalgamation of the former Tumut and Tumbarumba shires into the Snowy Valleys shire.
They don’t have any direct decision making capability, but they serve as a link between the community and the council, and offer advice as to how the Snowy Valleys communities can best be served by the interim body.
However, Ms Giddings said she didn’t feel she was performing a useful role through her membership on the committee.
“You talk about things that you think need to be looked at but it just didn’t seem to be taken on board,” she said.
“I think Kay [Whitehead, Interim General Manager, from Tumbarumba] and the Administrator are doing a good job and I really don’t think they need our input.
“I’m of the opinion that the Department of Premier and Cabinet thought that they needed LRC members to advise the Administrator but that’s not what was happening.
“Even though I didn’t agree with the merger I still did my best to try and get things working as the merged council.”
She will also be exiting the Tourism Committee, which is comprised purely of LRC members, and expressed her regrets that she won’t be continuing in that capacity.
In fact, she said it was her Tourism Committee membership that delayed her from removing herself from the merger process months earlier.
“I was really happy being on the Tourism Committee because we’ve started to kick some goals there and that’s what kept me there since Christmas – so that’s a shame,” she said.
Ms Giddings said she will be focusing her attention on the Tumbarumba community.
“Even when I went on the LRC I never wavered in my opinion that [the amalgamation] was a bad decision and that we should have never merged. They always knew where my loyalties lied which was with Tumbarumba.
“I’m just very disillusioned with the way that the state government treated us in the first place and that has carried right through.
“I’m still here in full support of Tumbarumba; it’s a generous and caring community and hopefully it stays that way.”