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Murray Shire councillor responds to allegations

Murray Shire councillor Geoff Mackenzie has responded to gender discrimination allegations.

February 24, 2014 4:01am

Geoff Mackenzie.


Murray Shire councillor Geoff Mackenzie has responded to allegations of gender discrimination.

In Friday’s Riv, it was reported that Cr Mackenzie had made it clear at a November workshop that he would be against including a female candidate in the interview process for a new general manager at Murray Shire.

At least one of the three shortlisted candidates is female.

‘‘I think (the gender discrimination allegations) is total misinformation,’’ Cr Mackenzie said on Saturday.

‘‘I don’t want to talk about gender discrimination. It’s a cheap shot. I’ve dealt with women and I like women. Women are now in fields I’ve never seen them in before.’’

Cr Mackenzie said the confidentiality of the November workshop was also flawed.

 

He said he invited criticism in all areas but asked those who did criticise to nominate for council.

‘‘Stand for an election and get on (council). The criticism should come through council and not through the press,’’ he said.

He said council was not perfect, but it was a process that needed to be undertaken.

‘‘It isn’t an easy job. I’m going to stand again now they’ve pulled this out on me,’’ he said.

‘‘I will not stand in the background.’’

But he hoped he was beaten by young people with fresh new ideas for council.

‘‘I’d love to see someone in their 40s get on council. We need new blood,’’ he said.

‘‘Change is hard to embrace, but change is what the world is about.’’

Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich said an extraordinary meeting is on today to continue the final steps of the interview process before a new general manager is appointed.

‘‘There are three applicants. I can’t see any reason why an appointment won’t be made,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s just business as usual.’’

Cr Weyrich said there would undoubtedly be talk among councillors, but ‘‘I won’t entertain any derogatory remarks. We are there to do a job.’’

Cr Weyrich said it was important to show respect to ratepayers and residents.

‘‘Perhaps more understanding of other people’s views is needed, including from me,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to be forward-thinking. Obviously the councillors are upset and are not happy.

‘‘We are the only ones who can change.

‘‘We need a collective attitude to change and we need to do what we were elected to do.’’

Murray Shire acting general manager Phil Higgins said he would not comment on Friday’s Riverine Herald article regarding gender discrimination.

The Riv asked Mr Higgins whether Friday’s revelations had any impact on the interview process, to which he responded it was the mayor’s responsibility.

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