Dick's says he's done

DICK Persson has resigned as Port Macquarie-Hastings Council administrator almost 12 months into the job – but the move will not trigger fresh council elections.

Mr Persson was appointed in February after the council was sacked over its handling of the Glasshouse Arts, Conference and Entertainment Centre.

His term was due to end in 2012.

NSW Local Government Department director-general Garry Payne will step in as the new administrator.

Mr Persson, who is also leaving the public service, said his resignation came after much soul searching.

The 58-year-old said he wasn’t happy being away from home three or four days a week and realised it was time to look for new challenges closer to home.

Mr Persson lives in the seaside Sydney suburb of Bronte.

Local Government Minister Barbara Perry confirmed NSW Department of Local Government director-general Garry Payne would replace Mr Persson as administrator.

“Mr Payne brings considerable experience to the role and I have every confidence in him,” Ms Perry said.

“I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Mr Persson for his hard work during his time as administrator at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.”

The new administrator starts on January 31.

Mr Payne said he already was the “alternate administrator” and he expected to be in the position for the long haul.

The career public servant has experience as an administrator at Tweed Shire Council and Sydney City Council.

“I’m aware of the [Port Macquarie-Hastings Council] background but the background is the background ... it is very important to move forward,” Mr Payne said.

Meanwhile, Mr Persson said, in his view, this was not the time to call a new council election.

He had uncovered “quite a lot of issues” best dealt with by an experienced administrator and the staff would benefit from a consistent and non-political style of decision making.

“I don’t think the political melodrama that would be played out through an election would be helpful to anyone,” Mr Persson said.

He cited among his greatest achievements as helping to restore confidence in the council, reconnecting many of the communities outside Port Macquarie with the council, and the waterfront issue.

Council’s general manager Andrew Roach said he would miss his association with Mr Persson but he had no doubt he would share a similar relationship with the new administrator.

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