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New GM arrives in town

Interim Snowy Valleys Council General Manager David Aber, who started on Monday.

Snowy Valleys Council’s new acting General Manager started yesterday, with David Aber arriving in town and meeting staff.

He’ll be here for up to three months, steering the ship until the new council has been elected. At that point, they will be the ones to appoint a permanent GM.

He sees his main job over the next few months as being “primarily just to keep things happening.”

“I’ll provide support to the Directors in implementing the programs and directions that have already been set, prepare the council for their new role, get them well placed to actually take up the role as councillors, and then to basically just keep things happening before the new GM takes over.”

There are still a number of management roles to fill in the council hierarchy, and former Tumbarumba GM Kay Whitehead was overseeing that process before she finished up her interim position last week.

However, Mr Aber said he will only be reviewing and supporting the directors in making those decisions; he will not be directly responsible for any hires. Prior to the Snowy Valleys, he was the interim General Manager at Young Council when it was merged to become Hilltops Council, when he was placed into the Deputy GM role.

He said, from what he understands, the merger to our north was “very similar” to the contentious one undertaken here.

“You had two towns competing, and the challenge in the merger process has been around how you provide services to communities that have very different expectations,” he said.

“From the signs I can see that there’s a fair bit of politics [here].”

Mr Aber was the General Manager of the Moree Council from 2001 until 2015, moving there from Shoalhaven, where he grew up. He isn’t overly familiar with the Snowy Valleys; his experience here extends to a few ski trips. But now that he’s here, does he think he’ll stick around, and apply for the permanent GM role when it comes up?

Mr Aber is unequivocal: “No,” he said.

“That’s the whole point, the council need to appoint their General Manager, and the caretaking role is to get them ready for that.”

Council elections will take place this Saturday, September 9.