MORE than 120 council staff farewelled outgoing Tweed Shire general manager Mike Rayner in the council foyer in Murwillumbah this morning.
His retirement tomorrow draws to a close a 38-year professional career, which included 30 years with the Tweed Shire Council.
Council directors today spoke of Mr Rayner's innate leadership skills, his capacity for strategic thinking and impressive negotiation abilities.
Most of all they referred to his passion and compassion and his overriding concern for people, even when making the toughest of decisions.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland said Mr Rayner's knowledge and experience was going to be difficult to replace.
"I certainly wish him well in his retirement on behalf of all the councillors," Councillor Longland said.
"I thank him for his professionalism and dedication and for the work he has done for the shire.
"For me personally, Mike has been of great assistance with the rough and tumble of the Mayoral office, providing wise counsel where necessary, while always maintaining his integrity as a model of public administration."
Mr Rayner will remain in the Tweed in retirement and is looking forward to enjoying more time with his wife Vicki and his grandchildren.
He also plans to do more travelling and work on his golf handicap.
"I could not have wished for a more fulfilling career," Mr Rayner said.
"I'm very excited about the next stage of my life - life is short and it is always important to keep that in perspective.
The new general manager, David Keenan, 46, starts in the role on Monday.