A former shire clerk and later general manager of the former Young Shire Council has been appointed to head Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) as their new interim GM.
Steve McGrath is possibly as regionally local as it gets. He started in local government in his hometown of Wagga Wagga in 1978 before he headed for the southern Riverina oasis Culcairn.
After then serving at Young Shire Council for nine years, he headed to the Hunter Valley to take the helm at Singleton Shire Council for eight years, where Mr McGrath also functioned in the role of vice-president of the Hunter Valley Wine Show for the past couple of years, helping to trumpet the wine and other products of the Hunter Valley to a broader market.
He took on a consultancy role delivering capacity-building projects with local government clients with Morrison Low Consultants before a sea change took him to Coffs Harbour after being appointed GM of their city council.
Mr McGrath is also a past NSW president and national president of Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA).
CGRC mayor Cr Charlie Sheahan announced the appointment to staff last week and said he was very pleased the position of interim GM had been offered to Mr McGrath.
“The interview panel decision was unanimous,” he said.
“Steve has had 30 years’ experience as a general manager – most recently the general manager at Coffs Harbour City Council – and is no stranger to our region, having served as the GM for Young from 1991 to 2000.
“I look forward to working with and learning from Steve as he brings his wealth of experience to guide our council, staff, and communities through this uncertain time.”
Cr Sheahan said Mr McGrath had always demonstrated strong leadership, but none more so than through recent natural disasters – including bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic – in the Coffs Harbour region.
He went on to thank staff for their patience during difficult and uncertain times and extended his sincerest appreciation to outgoing CGRC interim GM Les McMahon.
“I would like to personally thank Les McMahon for his efforts throughout the year,” Cr Sheahan said.
The mayor said Mr McMahon’s appointment was initially for a three-month period but was extended unexpectedly due to the demerger process.
“Les was engaged as IGM for a short period until we had appointed a new GM but with the announcement of the NSW Boundaries Commission review of the merger meant we could not guarantee a position, so the process had to be put on hold until the decision was made,” he said.
“I cannot thank Les enough for his support and service over the past nine months,” Cr Sheahan added.
In September 2022, NSW Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman announced that CGRC would be demerged back to the former two councils – Cootamundra Shire Council and Gundagai Shire Council.
The interim general manager position is in place for the transitional period until the demerger process is complete.
General managers will be appointed to each council when the councils are demerged.
No timeline has been provided for the demerger process but Ms Tuckerman did confirm council elections for any de-amalgamated shires would be held in line with the local government general elections in September 2024.
Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.