A MAJOR shake-up of the Southern Downs Regional Council appears set after the shock announcement yesterday that chief executive officer Rod Ferguson's contract had been terminated.
Just weeks after taking office, Mayor Peter Blundell said the council had "entered arrangements" with Mr Ferguson to terminate his contract and that the move was "mutually accepted".
Cr Blundell revealed that a recent meeting of council to discuss a major internal review had authorised him to begin negotiations with Mr Ferguson to end his eight-year stint, with councillors agreeing that a "fresh approach and different skill set" was needed.
He yesterday noted what he called the "exemplary record" of the outgoing CEO and wished him all the very best for his future, adding that the corporate structure review and an "organisational cultural program" would get under way in coming months.
"In the last term of council, a consultancy was awarded to Performance Frontiers to assess and review the culture of the organisation," Cr Blundell said.
"In light of this it was felt by both parties to be important to have a CEO in place who would be in a position to oversee and implement the process and resulting programs."
The mayor confirmed that the contracts of senior council directors were not up for review, with that process the responsibility of the new CEO.
"Councillors' responsibilities in relation to appointment and renegotiation involve the position of CEO," he said.
It is understood Mr Ferguson avoided the ending of his contract at his last annual review after a narrow vote of councillors.
He yesterday told the Daily News he would take a decent break and "recharge the batteries", before exploring career options within and outside local government.
"I have enjoyed the challenges of the past eight years, including those thrown up by forced amalgamation, and I am proud of the organisation that has developed and the staff who've served with me," Mr Ferguson said.
"Other highlights were assisting a raft of individuals and organisations, the region, the colourful, the sad, the troubled and the go-getters who make things happen.
"Likewise I've been impressed with this community's ability to stand by each other and deal with adversity when needed, whether that be natural disasters or other more personal tragedies."
Mr Ferguson said work would dictate where he and his family would eventually live but said he "generally" expected to move from Warwick at some stage in the future.
No finishing date was announced yesterday but Cr Blundell said the council would now embark on a CEO recruitment program.