Mayor Peter Blundell.
Mayor Peter Blundell. Erin Smith

‘No official offer made’ for the council CEO gig

MAYOR Peter Blundell has moved to address rumours a successful candidate has been appointed as the new Southern Downs Regional Council chief executive officer, saying no formal offer has yet been made.

It was yesterday understood one of nearly 60 applicants for the role had been picked and had accepted the job offer, but this was flatly denied by Cr Blundell.

The CEO post became vacant in September after former incumbent Andrew Roach resigned to take up a senior role with Ipswich City Council, with David Tuxford appointed as acting CEO in the interim.

Council is believed to have interviewed a short list of about a dozen applicants last week from across the country, with councillors required to eventually vote for their preferred candidate.

Cr Blundell said the recruitment process was "not completed".

"There has been no offer either made or accepted at this point in time," the mayor said.

"I can confirm we have completed the interviewing process and we are now conducting normal reference checks.

"We are hopeful an offer will be made to a suitable person by Christmas, but we will confirm this at the appropriate time."

Cr Blundell said he was hopeful that whoever got the top bureaucratic job would be in a position to start "as soon as possible".

It had been rumoured councillors took a vote on the narrowed-down list of applicants on Friday and that the successful candidate had already accepted the offer.

It is also understood council sought legal advice on its ability to require the new CEO to reside within the council area, but has been told it could be a form of discrimination to include such a clause in the contract of employment.

Mr Roach did not permanently reside in the Southern Downs Regional Council area and regularly returned to his Brisbane home where his family had remained based during his two-year tenure here.

He was also the subject of controversy in relation to what some councillors are understood to have believed was his excessive powers under delegated authority.

Cr Blundell defended Mr Roach publicly, saying he was brought in with an expectation major changes would be made.

These included staff cuts and a directorate restructure, which Mr Roach successfully oversaw.

Mr Roach started in his new role as chief financial officer for the Ipswich City Council in October, working closely alongside Warwick council and Warwick Credit Union alumni Jim Lindsay.

At the time of his departure Mr Roach said he was "looking forward to the challenges of a much larger council and working with the CEO on a great number of business challenges".

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