Calls for Eldridge to quit council

READ MORE:Council GM in bully probe;Rex will ‘ground flights’ if tax rises;Rex ups ante in fee stoush with council;Crisis meeting to decide fate of Regional Express in Wagga Council general manager Alan Eldridge stands over former councillor Julian McLaren, rebuking him for publicly criticising council’s management of the airport.

Pressure is mounting on Wagga council’s embattled general manager, who is under investigation for a series of allegedly aggressive outbursts at the airport on Tuesday morning.

Community members are calling on the city’s highest paid official to quit after his public tirade directed toward former councillor Julian McLaren “scared” onlookers.

Mayor Greg Conkey expected to have a final report detailing the altercation by Thursday afternoonand will confer with councillors about the most appropriate course of action.

Cr Conkey said he’d spoken “to a number of people” including witnesses, but would not reveal what sanctions were being considered.

The Daily Advertiserhas been inundated with readers calling on Mr Eldridge to resign, suggesting his position is untenable, and wondering why he hasn’t been stood down for the duration of the inquiry.

Former independent state and local government candidate Richard Foley said local government could not “go soft” on bullying.

“We seem to be going through general managerslike toilet paper, but you can’t stand by while a high-powered public figuredegradesand bullies someone in public,” Mr Foley said.

“A copwould charge me with intimidation if I behaved the same way downat the pub, so why’s a silvertail any different?

“I work in the building industry, where blokes are known to let a few choice words fly, but Mr Eldridge is paid more than $400,000 to exhibit exemplary behaviour.

“Building site or footy field behaviour is not good enough;especially not in full view of the public.”

Former Greens federal candidate David Fletcher said “at the very least councillors should consider passing a motion of no confidence” in Mr Eldridge.

Mr Fletcher claimed it was important thecommunity felt safe to scrutinise the use of ratepayer’s money.

“What is this, a Stalinist regime where you can’t be critical of council?” Mr Fletcher said.

“Secrecy in council is a big worry and it seems to be worsening under Alan Eldridge.

“He is way out of line throwing his weight around in public, shooting off at the mouth first and thinking later.

“It’s getting to the point where he has to resign to make way for someone familiar withrunning a regional city.”

Council declinedto comment.

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