Council Structure

The Council consists of seven (7) elected representatives called Councillors and the Council staff.

The elected Council appoints a General Manager.

General Manager - Bernard Smith

Bernard Smith commenced as the General Manager of Glen Innes Severn Council on Monday, 16 January 2023.

Bernard Smith General Manager

Bernard brings over 30 years of Local Government experience to the position, including 17 years at CEO/GM level in regional local government. He has attained an MBA, a Civil Engineering Degree and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Bernard has also received an Honorary Senior Fellowship from the University of Sunshine Coast for his leadership to the Gympie region and his contribution to the University.

Bernard has a strong background in rural and regional Australia and has extensive experience in advocacy in areas such as health, transport and education.

The Council has determined that the General Manager will be assisted in the carrying out of his functions by three (3) departments, each headed by a Director.


The Department of Corporate and Community Services is comprised of the following sections:
  • Administration and Records
  • Community Services, which includes:
  • Aged and Disability Direct Care
  • Brokered and Packaged Care
  • Children and Family Services
  • Youth Services
  • Corporate Risk Management and Compliance
  • Finance, including Rates and Corporate Property Management
  • Human Resources and Payroll
  • Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework
  • IT Services
  • Library and Learning Centre
  • Procurement
  • Section 355 Committees of Council
  •  Work, Health and Safety and Injury Management

Interim Director - Fiona Plesman

Fiona Plesman Director Corporate and Community Services Fiona Plesman, Interim Director of Corporate and Community Services, commenced in this role on 15 January 2024.  

With five years as the General Manager at Muswellbrook Council, previous roles as Director of Planning, Community, and Corporate Services, and experience Managing IP&R, Business Improvement and Sustainability at Penrith City Council, Organisation Development at Southern Cross and Western Sydney Universities, Fiona brings a wealth of expertise.  



The Department of Place and Growth is comprised of the following sections:

Open Spaces and Recreation

  • Parks
  • Sporting grounds and facilities
  • Cemeteries
  • Public Amenities and Cleaning

Economic Development and Tourism

  • Economic Development
  • Destination Management and Marketing
  • Visitor Information Services
  • Grants Management

Planning and Regulatory Services

  • Urban Planning
  • Development Assessment
  • Rangers and Compliance
  • Waste Management Services

Glen Innes Saleyards

Director – Gayleen Burley BBus, GradDipSafSci, GradDipUrb&RegPlan, Dip Ledrshp&Mgt

Gayleen Burley Director of Place and Growth

Gayleen Burley, Director of Place and Growth, took up the Director’s position in November 2022. 

Leading up to this role, Gayleen was the Manager Commercial Business at Kempsey Shire Council for approximately five (5) years leading a diverse portfolio consisting of Waste Management, Kempsey Airport, Kempsey Regional Saleyards, Macleay Valley Coast Holiday Parks, Council’s Property and Facilities (including Crown Lands under the management of Council), cemeteries, economic development and tourism and the Slim Dusty Centre. 

Prior to this Gayleen worked for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council where she was the Manager Port Macquarie Airport. 

Gayleen has a Bachelor of Business with double majors in Human Resource Management and Local Government, Graduate Diploma in Safety Science, Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning, and Diploma of Leadership and Management.


The Department of Infrastructure Services is comprised of the following sections:
  • Design Services
  • Glen Innes Aggregates Quarry
  • Integrated Water Services:
    • Water Reticulation
    • Wastewater Plant Operation
  • Plant and Fleet Maintenance
  • Roads and Bridges Infrastructure Works
  • Technical Services
Director - Keith Appleby, BSc, BEngTech(Civil)

Director of Infrastructure Services - Keith Appleby Keith commenced as Director in December 2014.

Leading up to the role, Keith was the Manager of Integrated Water and Sustainability Services for Council for five (5) years.  Keith worked at the Inverell Shire Council for five (5) years in asset management prior to joining the Glen Innes Severn Council.

Keith has seen a number of significant projects for our community during his time with Council:

  • Bridges Renewal Program
  • CBD Upgrade
  • Deepwater Water Reservoir construction
  • Deepwater Water Treatment Plant construction
  • Development of Wattle Vale Quarry to support windfarm construction
  • Eerindii Ponds Off Stream Water Storage and solar energy project
  • Glen Innes Swim Centre upgrade
  • Implementation of manufactured gravel road re-sheeting program
  • Purchase and development of Glen Innes Aggregates