John Neish parts ways with City of Ryde council

We are reprinting this article from the Northern District Times’ website for your information:

RYDE Council and its General Manager John Neish have “come to agreement to part ways”.

In a statement issued at 7.40pm on Friday, Mr Neish said it was his view that the new council should have the ability to select a general manager of its choice.

The shock termination of Mr Neish’s contract, believed to be worth $350,000 a year, comes after a tumultuous two-year dispute within council over a planned redevelopment of the Ryde Civic Centre site.

Mr Neish had joined the council on January 4, 2010, having been executive director of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) from early 2008. He was general manager of Parramatta City Council from 2003 to January 2008.

He had to oversee 715 employees and assets worth in excess of $2.5 billion, as well as the controversial Civic Precinct plan, which included selling the prime site opposite Top Ryde City to preferred developer Lend Lease to make way for two 24-storey residential towers in exchange for new council chambers, a community hub and cash.

The plan was dumped soon after the September local government elections which produced a shift in the balance of political power among councillors.

The anti-development councillors, who then held the balance of power, also attempted to fire Mr Neish. However, no action was taken on Mr Neish’s employment due to an inquiry being conducted by the ICAC.

The statement said Ms Danielle Dickson will act as caretaker GM.