Outsider is new city chief

Frank Zaknich
Frank Zaknich

ALBURY Council has opted for change with its appointment of Frank Zaknich as the city’s new general manager.

Mr Zaknich, the general manager at Broken Hill Council for the past six years, secured the $300,000-a-year post ahead of Albury’s acting general manager Michael Keys and one other short-listed candidate.

It has been the biggest decision to date for the council that was elected with five new councillors last September.

Mr Zaknich, who starts in Albury on March 11, is the first general manager from outside Albury since Mark Henderson in the early 2000s.

His experience as general manager since 2006 was a crucial factor but the appointment could also be seen as the new councillors, elected on a mandate of change, flexing their muscles.

Mr Zaknich began his local government career as a trainee health and building surveyor with Broken Hill Council and has also worked in health, building and environmental roles with the Bland, Clare District and Central Darling (Wilcannia) councils before returning to Broken Hill as general manager in 2006.

Mr Zaknich’s tenure at Broken Hill included a period where the council was in administration between 2007 and 2009.

Albury councillors interviewed short-listed candidates on Tuesday before settling on their preferred candidate in a confidential session following that night’s council meeting.

Mr Zaknich spent most of Wednesday negotiating his package before resigning from his job at Broken Hill early yesterday.

Albury councillors have signed a confidentiality agreement not to publicly discuss the general manager recruitment process.

On a four-year contract, Mr Zaknich takes control of a 400-strong workforce with an annual budget of $100 million.

Mr Keys will continue as acting general manager until March before returning to his original role as planning and environment director.

David Christy who has been the acting planning director for Mr Keys will return to his role as planning team leader.

The council will decide the fate of the $10.5 million art gallery project before Mr Zaknich arrives.

Mr Zaknich takes over from Les Tomich who officially left the council on December 31 after nearly a year on sick leave.

Mr Tomich previously worked for Broken Hill Council before moving to Albury.