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Our Organisation

John Rayner

Position Administrator
Phone: 9330 6020
Email: jrayner@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

John Rayner is the appointed Administrator of Georges River Council until the next local government elections are held on 9 September 2017. As one of the most respected and highly regarded leaders in local government, he brings a wealth of experience to this role. John has worked in local government for over 50 years, most recently for Sutherland Shire Council where he was General Manager for 33 years. His extensive career and dedicated public service has been recognised in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours list with a Public Service Medal.

His expertise spans across building and delivering organisational resilience along with community consultation. He has-in depth knowledge and understanding of the complexities and legislative requirements for local government, and works to ensure that change management processes and work cultures are innovative and focused on continuous improvement for the long-term.

The size, complexity and dynamics of Sutherland Shire Council made for a challenge however with sound policies and processes in place, and by working closely with the community, the Council was able to achieve a balance between the natural environment and the needs of metropolitan living. This blend of experience will be integral to John's representation as Administrator of Georges River Council in the coming months.

Finally, John has also held a variety of board positions including State President of Local Government Managers Australia, now known as Local Government Professionals.


Gail Connolly

Position: General Manager
Phone: 9330 6256
Email: gconnolly@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

Gail Connolly brings more than 20 years of local and state government executive experience to her role as General Manager of Georges River Council.

Most recently, Gail was General Manager at City of Ryde. Her expertise spans many areas including managing urban growth, infrastructure and transport planning for local government areas and metropolitan growth centres.

Gail has taken a leading role in transformational leadership and organisational reform, business improvement and cultural change. Her communication and service delivery skills give her a strong foundation on which to build the future vision of Georges River Council.

Gail has held other executive roles at several councils including City of Gold Coast, City of Sydney, along with Campbelltown and Blacktown Councils. She has been a Director on numerous public and private sector Boards including the Whitlam Institute, the Central Sydney Planning Committee, Place Leaders Asia Pacific and the Western Sydney Parklands Board.

Gail has held senior executive roles in NSW State agencies, including NSW Transport and Infrastructure and the Department of Planning, where she led the preparation of whole-of-government strategies such as the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy and the Metropolitan Transport Plan.

Gail Connolly

Carole Todd

Position Chief Operating Officer
Phone: 9330 6472
Email: ctodd@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

Carole Todd joins us as Chief Operating Officer having completed three years at Liverpool City Council as Director, Business Improvement and a variety of senior executive roles. Before moving to Australia in 2012, Carole worked at Auckland Council in New Zealand and prior to that at a combination of small, medium and large local authorities in the UK and also spent four years consulting at PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Carole lives locally in Sans Souci, is an avid Manchester United fan and has a keen interest in fashion design and enjoys travelling.

Carole Todd

Meryl Bishop

Position: Director Environment and Planning
Phone: 9330 6496
Email: mbishop@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

Meryl has over 25 years of experience working in local government, with extensive experience in statutory and land use planning, and in policy and program development covering economic planning, place management, affordable housing, social and recreation/open-space planning.  She has worked at Marrickville and Waverley Councils and worked in leadership roles at the City of Botany Bay and City of Ryde for close to 15 years. Most recently Meryl has led the Strategic City Department and the City Strategy and Planning Directorate, which in addition to the aforementioned areas of expertise, saw her oversee Health and Building regulation, Environmental Sustainability activities, and Development Assessment. Meryl brings an exciting mix of skills and experience ranging from project management, community consultation and  policy development and implementation to management and executive leadership.

Meryl Bishop

Laurie O’Connor

Position: Director Assets and Infrastructure
Phone: 9330 6228
Email: LOConnor@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

With nearly 30 years’ experience in Local Government, Laurie O’Connor is the Director of Assets and Infrastructure. Laurie holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Technology and has completed a Post-graduate Diploma in Local Government Engineering.

Laurie commenced his engineering career in 1986 with Botany Bay City Council where he was employed as a Junior Engineer. After nine years of service and attaining the role of Executive Engineer Laurie took the position of Managing Engineer Administration at Hurstville City Council in 1995. Laurie has remained at Hurstville since that time and held several senior management roles before progressing to his current position of Director of Assets and Infrastructure in the newly formed Georges River Council.

Laurie O'Connor

David Tuxford

Position: Director Culture and Community
Phone: 9330 6186
Email: DTuxford@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

David Tuxford has worked in local government across two states for more than 30 years. David’s experience spans many areas of local government, including community services, libraries, child care, events management, policy formation and service delivery.

Most recently, David was General Manager at Kyogle Council, where he was instrumental in leading the organisation through the local government reform process. He has also introduced a new organisational structure as part of his agenda for organisational reform and changing the culture of the Council.

David is passionate about local government and about seeing the industry prosper. He has previously served on the board of Local Government Professionals NSW (previously known as Local Government Managers Australia (NSW) for more than nine years.

David Tuxford

Marissa Racomelara

Position Director Transformation and Change
Phone: 9330 9314
Email: MRacomelara@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

Marissa has worked in local government for 18 years, beginning at Leichhardt Municipal Council and then moving to Sutherland Shire Council before joining us here. At Sutherland, she held roles in the Program Office as well as in Organisational Development, overseeing large scale projects including a restructure and service delivery reviews, and held the role of Manager of Strategy and Performance.

The Transformation and Change team plays a critical role in helping to plan for and shape the strategic goals and future direction of Georges River Council, in line with Department of Premier and Cabinet reporting requirements and the needs of the Executive. Marissa will focus on organisational and change development and projects in line with organisational, community, and state government priorities.

Marissa Racomelara