OUR SAY: It is the minister’s job to get to bottom of GM drama

The revelation that local government minister Gabrielle Upton is enquiring into the removal of Mark Riley is good news for Dubbo.

One way or another, the community may finally get some answers as to why this city’s general manager of 13 years is no longer in the role.

A general manager who, according to statements made by the mayor Ben Shields last week, “served the former Dubbo City Council very well over an extended period of time and is to be congratulated for his outstanding service to the community”.

If that is the case, why is he no longer in the role?

The term ‘mutual written agreement’ has been bandied about since council resolved confidentially to remove Mr Riley as general manager last Monday.

Rumours and innuendo have been flying around town since that fateful Thursday two weeks ago when Mr Riley walked out of the building, and hopefully the minister will be able to get to the bottom of what is fact and what is fiction.

The first question that needs to be asked, and one which hasn’t been answered as yet, is “who approached who and why?” and the rest can flow from there.

It may be an uncomfortable conversation for some within council to have, but it is one that must be had.

If you talk to residents around town, from people on the street to those with knowledge of how councils work, the recurring theme is that the stories that have been presented just don’t make sense.

It is now up to the minister to figure out why this whole sorry affair happened in the first place.

Because, as much as Mark Riley is the person who has had their job taken from them, this isn’t about him.

As with anyone who has a public profile, some people like him and some people don’t.

This is more about getting answers out of a council that has removed a very capable servant of this city from their job, and not told the people why they did it.

It’s about a council that has tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the general public, and who don’t like the fact that they are being held accountable.

The residents and ratepayers of this city, the people who actually employ this council and gave them their vote of confidence at the elections back in September, deserve the truth.