COUNCILLORS HAVE threatened to withdraw from Council meetings from the end of this month if the County Manager does not rescind or postpone the decision to remove Ger Mackey from the post of Town Clerk in New Ross.
This follows an emergency motion brought by Cllr. Bobby Dunphy at last Tuesday night's council meeting, from which Ger Mackey was absent.
Ger Mackey, who returned to New Ross as Town Clerk last February, is being moved to the Community and Enterprise section in Wexford County Council HQ. He is being replaced by Anthony Bailey, RAPID Co- Ordinator for New Ross.
Cllr. Dunphy called on the acting County Manager Adrian Doyle to rescind or postpone the decision to remove Ger Mackey from his post, saying it is important to have continuity in any role of management. In the event that this is not done, elected members are to withdraw from Council meetings with effect from January 31. He stated he is mindful of the absence of any sense of permanency in the specific office of the Town Clerk stretching back over the past fifteen years and is also concerned at the damage such lack of long term occupancy may have on the proper planning and development of New Ross.
The timing and the effect of this proposed transfer was also another cause of concern for Cllr. Dunphy who said this was ' the most critical year in the showcasing and selling of New Ross on the national and international stage'.
However Senior Staff Officer Mick McCormack said the issue of staffing is solely a matter for the Manager and the proposal was 'illegal'.
In seconding the motion, Cllr. John Dwyer said he recognises that the executive will ignore the motion.
'I am very, very disappointed by what happened. It is a very bad move. He should be reinstated for the year that is in it,' said Cllr. Victor Furness, which Cllr. Annette Larkin agreed with.
Cllr. Michael Sheehan said there had been a ' couple of different incidents' where he felt the efforts of the council were being frustrated by people outside the Chamber.
' The question for us is who runs the town - the elected members or the people outside the Chamber,' he slammed.
' This is a man from New Ross who is doing great work and his reward is to move him when we need him most. This is not a way I would like to see a member of staff treated. We need to stand up. Who runs this town and where is it run from,' continued Cllr. Sheehan.
Refuting his claims, the Senior Staff Officer said to infer the County Manager made his decision on Ger Mackey's position on the basis of a recent meeting to send a delegation from New Ross to the States this week is unfair. He said the County Manager made changes to three Town Clerks in Co. Wexford, which he is entitled to make.
'It is nothing personal about Ger Mackey,' said Mick McCormack, adding that Cllr. Sheehan's inferences are 'unfair' and needed to be challenged.
Beside him the Town Manager Eamonn Hore said Cllr. Sheehan was talking in riddles. 'I don't know what you are on about,' he added.
Across the table Cllr. John Dwyer said Ger Mackey is a man who has 'New Ross in his blood' and who is doing a 'sterling job'. This latest 're-jigging' of positions, he said, was 'most pointless'.
'I'm sick, tired and fed up of praising people as they move out the door. In a year where Ger Mackey has put in so much work it is about having a safe pair of hands in the seat and not changing tact. I think it is a strong motion and I am asking the elected members to stand up and say we are not happy to work in this regime,' added Cllr. Dunphy.
'It definitely won't do the town any good,' said Cathaoirleach Paul Crowdle.
When it went to a vote Cathaoirleach Paul Crowdle, Cllrs. Bobby Dunphy, Victor Furness, Annette Larkin, John Dwyer and Michael Sheehan were in favour. Cllrs. Jas O'Callaghan and Anthony Connick abstained from voting.
Afterwards, the Town Manager asked that councillors consider a delegation with the County Manager, as offered by him. Councillors agreed to this.