THE chairman of Snowy Hydro and the outgoing chief executive have both given public assurances it will be "business as usual" when a new boss takes over the company later this year.
Their assurances come against a background of growing community anxiety about the possible implications, if any, over the departure later this year of long-serving chief executive Terry Charlton.
Last week Snowy Hydro board chairman Bruce Hogan announced that a search for a successor for Mr Charlton had begun.
The announcement came out of the blue and aroused considerable community concern. NSW Greens MP John Kaye, for example, said Mr Charlton's departure should lead to a re-think of Snowy Hydro's operations, and what its constituents expected.
Community leaders expressed concern, some privately, at the implications of Mr Charlton's departure, and what it would mean, if anything, for the company's involvement and commitment to the Cooma and Monaro communities.
Some people, including Cooma mayor Dean Lynch, expressed their concerns directly to Mr Hogan and to Mr Charlton.
There was even speculation about the circumstances surrounding Mr Charlton stepping down from the position he has occupied for 14 years.
But he assured the Express that he had been talking to the Snowy Hydro board for three years about a chief executive succession plan.
Importantly, he said, "There is no rift with the board."
In a candid interview Mr Charlton said that after his departure there would be no change to Snowy Hydro's local involvement, and there was no justification for any such change.
"At no stage has the board indicated any change. There may be subtle differences but there will not be strategic change," he said.
It would be business as usual, and he would be out and about reassuring the community over the next few months.
"My job is a privilege," Mr Charlton said.
Snowy Hydro was in good shape with considerable business momentum, but there came a point when it was time for him to move on, he said. He and his wife Alvis had plans for the future, particularly travel to see two of their three children who live overseas.
One of his greatest achievements, he said, was securing job security for Snowy Hydro employees. There had been no redundancies during his 14 year term.
Mr Charlton's sentiments about "business as usual" were echoed by board chairman Bruce Hogan who was in Cooma last week at the launch of the new Cooma Universities Centre, funded by Snowy Hydro.
He told the gathering of community leaders that Snowy Hydro was committed to being a responsible community citizen - a "strategic partner" - which valued its social investment in the community.
Separately, he also told the Express, "Snowy Hydro's involvement in the local community is fully supported by the board.
"Snowy Hydro believes in the importance of investing in the communities in which we operate for the benefit of both our people and their families and the entire community.
"There are no plans for change."