We want answers

A PACKED gallery yelled "shame, shame, shame" as Camden Council's general manager Greg Wright was given his final marching orders last Wednesday.

Mr Wright was sacked two weeks ago in a closed meeting without an explanation after Camden's five Liberal councillors voted to terminate his contract immediately.

At the extraordinary meeting, Camden's four independent councillors made a last-ditch attempt to save Mr Wright's job but failed, losing the vote 5-4 for a second time.

About 50 people in the public gallery yelled: "shame, shame, shame" when the decision was handed down.

The only Liberal councillor to contribute to the debate was mayor Lara Symkowiak.

The four other Liberal councillors were silent during the entire meeting while Cr Symkowiak was forced to call order to the meeting on several occasions.

Residents chanted "we will not be silent . . . we will not be silenced" when the mayor attempted to stop comments coming from the gallery.

Former councillor Cindy Cagney told the meeting: "I can see that there is no rational or logical explanation to his termination".

She urged the four Liberal councillors to consider Mr Wright's performance reviews.

"I think it (the decision to terminate his contract) is politically motivated," she told the Advertiser after the meeting.

Independents Greg Warren and David Bligh called for the mayor to table the costs associated with Mr Wright's departure.

Cr Eva Campbell said: "The cost to the community will be about $195,000; they don't include any on-going costs."

She quipped that the council could recoup some of its losses from the decision if the Liberal councillors forfeited their pay.

Once Mr Wright's termination was rubber stamped, resident Deborah Aakhus stormed into the meeting demanding an answer for Mr Wright's termination. "I'm absolutely disgusted," she said.

Cr Symkowiak later released a statement saying there were a number of circumstances in which a council meeting could be closed.

"One of these circumstances is where it concerns a staffing matter about an individual.

"In my discussion with Mr Wright and deputy mayor Peter Sidgreaves in the week prior to the council meeting of November 27, Mr Wright made it clear that his preference for any discussion about the terms of his contract be held in a closed session of council as allowed in the Local Government Act."

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