Local government veteran Viv May PSM has been appointed as administrator of Armidale Regional Council for a period of three months.
It brought an abrupt halt to a council meeting being held this morning, when the councillors learned they had been officially suspended.
Mr May's duties start immediately, and Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall described him as the right person for the job, saying Mr May would not put up with any rubbish from anyone.
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said she made the decision to suspend the council after carefully considering its submission in response to a notice of intention issued on May 19.
In its submission to the Minister, the council welcomed the Minister's intervention and appointment of an administrator.
The suspension follows serious concerns about the council's ability to function properly and effectively following a breakdown of relationships between councillors and key council officers and significant reputational, legal and work, health and safety risks.
Mrs Hancock said an interim administrator would restore the proper and effective functioning of the council.
"The Armidale community deserves to have a council that is serving its best interests," Mrs Hancock said.
Mr May has nearly 50 years' experience in the NSW local government sector. He has previously been administrator of the suspended Auburn City Council and the new Cumberland Council in 2016, and served as a general manager of Mosman Council.
A statement Ms Hancock said the appointment of an interim administrator would provide independent governance to address organisational and governance matters.
The interim administrator will perform the functions of the mayor and councillors for three months. The administrator's salary will be the same as the fees paid to the suspended councillors.
"Viv May is well placed to ensure the best interests of ratepayers are being served now and in the future," Mrs Hancock said.
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