COOMA-Monaro mayor Dean Lynch is mounting a fierce defence of departing Snowy Hydro chief executive Terry Charlton, insisting he is appointed to the board of directors after relinquishing his employment with the company.
In a shock move, it was announced at the end of February the company was embarking on a search for Mr Charlton's successor. He has been at the helm of Snowy Hydro for 14 years. The word "retirement" was not used in the media release.
The announcement caught many people in the community by surprise. It was unexpected and lead to speculation and uncertainty about Snowy Hydro's commitment to the Monaro, Snowy River, Tumbarumba and Tumut communities.
Cr Lynch said he was personally offended by the announcement, and he knew of other mayors in the region who were similarly disaffected.
"My job is to ensure the best for the local community," he said.
"I was offended the media release was issued without consulting [the region's] mayors.
"I spoke to Bruce Hogan (chairman of the Snowy Hydro board) about it."
Cr Lynch said he was writing to the Snowy Hydro board voicing his concerns and requesting that Mr Charlton be invited to sit on the board.
In another controversial request, Cr Lynch is asking for a lengthy transition period between Mr Charlton and his successor, at least until after the federal election in September, and preferably until the end of the year.
Mr Charlton has told the Express, however, he expects the search for his successor to take until about July or August.
And, in another move sure to excite interesting reaction among potential candidates, Cr Lynch is seeking an assurance that the new chief executive will live in Cooma for at least three years and not Sydney or Melbourne. Mr Charlton did this early in his term as chief executive.
The Express understands that events leading up to the announcement of a search for Mr Charlton's successor reached the higher echelons of the NSW state government. It is understood these events may be raised in state Parliament. In an interview with the Express Mr Charlton says there is no rift between himself and the board of Snowy Hydro. Both he and Mr Hogan say there will be no change to the company's commitment to the region.