PORT Macquarie-Hastings Council's general manager Craig Swift-McNair has resigned.
He will be taking up a new position as general manager at Woollahra Council in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
His last day at council will be July 1.
A council spokesperson said Mr Swift-McNair has intended to move to Sydney for some time.
He advised all council staff this morning (June 4) and key community leaders in the newly formed COVID Recovery Working Group.
"I have obviously not taken this decision lightly, however having been the general manager of a large and successful regional council, I was keen to further my local government career in a metropolitan council, hence my decision to apply for the general manager role at Woollahra," Mr Swift-McNair said.
"Clearly the timing is not all that great, when you consider the pandemic recovery work we have all been working on, but that was a little out of my control.
"I have certainly enjoyed my time at PMHC, which dates back to 2003 and I have appreciated the opportunities the organisation and local government in general have provided me with over the years.
"I have particularly enjoyed being part of this community and in getting to know many of you.
"We are certainly blessed to have a dedicated community in this area and that is evidenced by the way we have all come together to drive a community response to the pandemic recovery."
The announcement comes after a tense meeting on June 3 when mayor Peta Pinson made an attempt to push for an early election to end what she describes as a "warring faction" within the elected body rendering its decision-making capacity in the community ineffective.
It was a tense debate and it got personal with the mayor claiming bullying and harassment within the elected body and dysfunction at levels she has never experienced before in her professional life.
Those claims were challenged by some councillors with deputy mayor Lisa Intemann saying the mayor should raise these matters, with specific examples, "out of the public eye".
READ HOW THE JUNE 3 MEETING PLAYED OUT: Mayor calls out council's "warring faction" but fails in push for early election
Cr Pinson believes the council is now toxic, is not working for the public good and called on general manager Craig Swift-McNair to make a request to the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock to bring a local election forward.
She said there was "growing community dissatisfaction with the elected representatives of council".
That motion was rejected by councillors who delegated the authority to the general manager to seek out external professional advice and support.
Mr Swift-McNair signed a new four year contract as general manager earlier this year.
That contract was to take his position as GM through until March 2024 with a renumeration package totalling $350,487.
Mr Swift-McNair's review recorded a high level of satisfaction with his performance.
The recommendation to renew the general manager's contract was supported by all councillors except for Cr Sharon Griffiths and mayor Peta Pinson.
His appointment followed the dismissal of former general manager Tony Hayward - a decision made after a unanimous vote of the then council.
Mr Swift-McNair returned to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council as the corporate and business services director in early 2012 after a two-year stint at Greater Taree City Council.
He had earlier worked at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council as manager of business services.
Mr Swift-McNair led our council's renamed commercial services and industry engagement division with responsibilities spanning economic development and tourism, The Glasshouse, environmental laboratory, business services and financial services.
Mayor at the time, Peter Besseling, said council's future now had great promise and the councillors were confident that Mr Swift-McNair could lead this large organisation to serve the community's needs and realise the potential of the region.
Council is still determining how to fill Mr Swift-McNair's role in the interim period after July 1.