ORANGE City Council has accepted the resignation of its general manager of 14 years, Garry Styles.
Mr Styles tendered his resignation ahead of Tuesday night's meeting and councillors considered the matter in a closed session lasting more than an hour.
They accepted Mr Styles' resignation along with his terms, however they are set to remain confidential.
There was unrest among councillors prior to closed discussions - councillor Glenn Taylor voiced his anger at not receiving more notice of Mr Styles' decision.
The resignation will take effect as of the close of business this Friday.
In a statement issued at the meeting's conclusion, mayor Reg Kidd said the announcement came with regret.
"Mr Styles has made invaluable contributions to the council, the Orange community and local government in general for which we are all grateful," he said.
Mr Styles has made invaluable contributions to the council, the Orange community and local government in general for which we are all grateful.Orange mayor Reg Kidd
Mr Styles used the same statement to thank the staff and councillors.
Development services director David Waddell will serve as acting general manager until a replacement is appointed.
Here is some of our previous coverage of Garry Styles in office...
IS THIS THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN ORANGE?
Originally published in March 19, 2010 - by Bevan Shields
MAYOR John Davis has used his casting vote to take the right to approve or refuse developments out of the hands of councillors and put it in the hands of one man.
The sudden policy change has elevated Orange City Council general manager Garry Styles to a position of extraordinary power.
He now has the authority to automatically green-light any development application provided it meets the relevant rules and regulations.
The only development applications councillors will now have any say on will be the ones planners believe should be refused.
Cr Davis said the move would take emotion and politics out of the increasingly contentious issue of development.
"Yes it's legal, we won't be the only council doing it and as for creating a corruption risk, I think it would actually make corruption less likely," he said.
"I think we've got to a point where all and sundry are influencing decisions on things that deserve to get a guernsey because they tick all the boxes."
Councillors Chris Gryllis, Sam Romano, Fiona Rossiter and Jeff Whitton supported the mayor's plan.
Jeremy Buckingham, Peter Hetherington, Neil Jones, Reg Kidd and Gavin Priestley opposed the motion.
If councillors want to remove communities' involvement in planning they can do so, but they'll do it at their own electoral peril.Former Orange City councillor Jeremy Buckingham
With the outcome tied, Cr Davis used his casting vote to push the reform through at a meeting this week.
"This is an assault on democracy," Cr Buckingham said.
"The mayor has completely removed the community's voice in determining controversial planning decisions because their elected representatives now play no significant role in determining developments.
"If councillors want to remove communities' involvement in planning they can do so, but they'll do it at their own electoral peril."
Cr Davis sighted the recent refusal of a tavern, restaurant and bottle shop in north Orange as an example of how councillors make planning decisions based on emotion rather than fact.
"That development ticked all the boxes but we voted to knock it back, myself included," he said.
"In 27 years in local government I've never been ashamed of anything I've done, but I am not afraid to say I was ashamed of that decision."
Under the new policy, the tavern would have been automatically granted consent because staff had recommended it be approved.
During the last 12 months, 45 development applications went before councillors for a decision.
You liaise with the councillors fairly closely to get their guts on what they believe the issues are and you pick up on the strategic thread and get a grip on where it is heading.Orange City Council General Manager, Garry Styles, in 2005
Of the 35 developments planners recommended be approved, just one, the tavern, was refused, highlighting how rare it is for councillors to refuse permissible developments.
Currently, 89 per cent of development applications in Orange are approved by council staff under delegation.
Controversial, unpopular or high value applications go before councillors.
In Dubbo and Port Stephens, 99 per cent of developments are approved by staff, 98 per cent in Lithgow, 95 per cent in Bathurst and 97 per cent in Newcastle.
THE START: GARRY STYLES APPOINTED GM IN 2005
Originally published in October 31, 2005 - by Nick Redmond
ORANGE City Council's new general manager, Garry Styles, started work yesterday.
Mr Styles, a former general manager at the Mid Western Regional Council in Mudgee, spent yesterday meeting staff and familiarising himself with council's strategic plans.
"You have a good look at the organisation and form an opinion on where there might be some improvement made or where some issues might need addressing," Mr Styles said.
"You liaise with the councillors fairly closely to get their guts on what they believe the issues are and you pick up on the strategic thread and get a grip on where it is heading.
"I'd like to have a solid look at the level of service and how the future projects fit in and how that fits in a financial sense."
Mr Styles said there were a number of issues he would look into including future land releases.
"The issue of the [proposed] indoor sports centre, we're going to have a close look at that. It seems to be one of the key issues at the moment," he said.
Mike Ryan has been acting general manager since Allen Dwyer resigned in February.
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