SUDDEN EXIT: Former Newcastle Council manager of legal services Frank Giordano with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes. Mr Giordano’s surprise resignation has baffled councillors. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTwo of Newcastle City Council’s most senior managers are departing the organisation, fuelling rumours of discontent among staff ranks.
The sudden resignation of the Manager of Council and Legal Services, Frank Giordano, in particular has raised eyebrows, after councillors were informed of his decision in a memo that was circulated earlier this week.
Council’s Director of Infrastructure Frank Cordingley has also announced his retirement after nearly eight years with the organisation, including a 12-month stint last year as interim chief executive officer.
He will finish at the end of this month and theHeraldunderstands hisdecision was not unexpected among staff.
Councillors received the memo about Mr Giordano’s resignation on Tuesday and it’s understood his last day was supposed to be Wednesday.
But byMonday afternoon he had packed his things and never returned to the roundhouse.
Greens councillor Michael Osborne said the circumstances were “most unusual.”
“It is very surprising; the memo is so short –three lines long –and it just says he’s left the organisation and returned to Sydney,” Cr Osborne said.
“The normal approach would be to give notice and there could be time to explain what’s going on and say goodbye to staff and councillors. It’s very surprising.”
His colleague Cr Therese Doyle said she would be pursuing an explanation.
Mr Giordano’s decision comes after he publicly clashed withLord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at a council meeting last month, when he suggested that minutes of a previous meeting were redacted because they could possibly be defamatory.
The Newcastle Herald understands the workingrelationship between the pair did not improve after an external audit was ordered into Cr Nelmes’credit card expenses.
Sources said Mr Giordanowas grilled by the Lord Mayor at a confidential meeting in March over why he sought legal adviceon a possible breach of the code of conduct by Labor Cr Declan Clausen, even though that had not been requested in any formal council motion.
However it’s understood that Mr Giordano responded that he had been instructed to by another member of staff.
Cr Allan Robinson (Independent) believes that both Mr Giordano and Mr Cordingley were motivated to leave because of thework environment.
Neither Mr Giordano, Mr Cordingley nor Cr Nelmes could be reached for comment on Thursday.
Mr Giordanowill be replaced byEmily Kolatchew.