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Out with the Old, in with the New at Randwick Council

By Siriol Dafydd on October 29, 2018 in News

Randwick’s new mayor and deputy mayor, Kathy Neilson and Danny Said, by Josh Hay

It’s all change at Randwick Council, folks. After 12 months as top dog, Cr Lindsay Shurey announced at the end of September that she was stepping down from her role as mayor. This was closely followed by another announcement that a new general manager had been appointed to replace the outgoing GM, Ray Brownlee PSM, who is taking up a new role as CEO at Northern Beaches Council.

Lindsay Shurey was the second female mayor in Council’s 159-year history and half of the first ever all-female leadership team (with Deputy Mayor Alexandra Luxford in 2017).

“Serving as Mayor of Randwick has been an incredible honour and privilege,” Cr Shurey said in a statement to the press. “However, the time has come for me to focus on other things.”

Rumour has it that those ‘other things’ include contesting the state seat of Coogee as a candidate for the Greens, so watch this space.

Whether you agree with their politics or not, there’s no denying that being mayor is a tough job. Between wrangling councillors, dealing with constant complaints from the public and putting up with the whinging press, it can be pretty lonely at the top.

As we wave goodbye to old management and gear up to judge and incessantly pester the new lot, let’s focus on the positives and remember their achievements, like addressing domestic violence, banning single use plastics, supporting marriage equality, upgrading Coogee Bay Road and opening the Malabar Headland Western Walking Track.

So what’s next for Randwick Council? Who’s in charge and what can we expect from them over the next few months?Labor councillors Kathy Neilson and Danny Said have been upgraded to mayor and deputy mayor, respectively. In a statement, Mayor Neilson said, “I look forward to continuing to deliver great services to the community and uphold the legacy of sustainability and care for the environment that has become a defining attribute of Council in recent times.”

Meanwhile, Therese Manns will be taking over as general manager in November. Having previously held the GM position at Broken Hill City Council and Boorowa Council, and most recently as director of corporate services for Sutherland Shire Council, she is a well regarded leader in local government with a strong background in financial and asset planning.

Ms Manns said she was privileged to join the Randwick team.

“Randwick has and continues to be a leader and influencer in the local government sector,” she said.

“The sense of community created, underpinned by strong val- ues, is a credit to both community and organisational leadership over many years.”

As for what we can expect from our new local leaders, it is pretty much business as usual. Rangers will finally have the power to impound abandoned boat trailers; Council has agreed to arrange traffic management plans to enable resident Christmas street parties in December 2018; Council is sup- porting a push to have the Aboriginal flag flown permanently on the Sydney Harbour Bridge; and the Smart City Strategy, which outlines how Council will navigate the future and invest in smart city initiatives and technology, is now on public exhibition and open to feedback.

So it’s out with the old and in with the new at Randwick Council, but life, and politics, must go on.

“Randwick has a bright future under this new team and I feel con- fident that Council will continue to be a strong leader in local government and will serve the community well,” Mayor Neilson said.