Gympie Council CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran. Gympie Regional Council
Gympie Council CEO Bernard Smith and Mayor Mick Curran. Gympie Regional Council

Ghost of CEO's controversies caught up on election day

THE inevitable is here.

In the wake of last month's election result, life's two guarantees - death and taxes - were joined by a third: Bernard Smith's departure as council CEO.

It was, to paraphrase the great Simon and Garfunkel, prophecy written on the subway walls.

And yes, a train was involved.

Before we go further I'd like to wish the outgoing CEO all the best in whatever the future holds.

Bernard Smith.
Bernard Smith.

Now, the dissection.

To borrow a popular phrase from the past council, it's a legacy issue.

Several of the most contentious issues of Smith's run (story page 2) date to before 2016.

The departure of long-time staff; the legacy of Port Macquarie's disastrous Glasshouse project on his career; a contract renewal on the eve of an election.

You can't outrun ghosts.

And we haven't even got to the budget issues of the past four years, and the financial train wreck that was the Rattler's return - problems for which the past council shoulders a fair share of blame too.

The Mary Valley Rattler’s troubled return was a thorn in Bernard Smith’s run as CEO and opened the door wide for criticism.
The Mary Valley Rattler’s troubled return was a thorn in Bernard Smith’s run as CEO and opened the door wide for criticism.

Scrutiny of his performance was not helped by the abject disaster caused by jailed ex-Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and his ilk.

If we're going to be critical of the CEO - and there were areas of legitimate concern - then let's not pretend some of the criticism wasn't unfairly targeted too.

Now, Smith's critics' day is here.

A vacancy sign has been hung on the Town Hall's shingle.

In the meantime the new council will be aided by acting CEO Pauline Gordon.

Pauline Gordon is filling the role on an interim basis.
Pauline Gordon is filling the role on an interim basis.

And while her appointment is only interim, it's the first time the top non-elected job will be occupied for any extended period by a woman.

Following on from the election wins of Jess Milne and Dolly Jensen, it's a change of speed and a chance for the region to take a moment to breathe fresh air. How about we do that?

The acting CEO may have been hired by Smith, but she isn't him.

It's best to remember this if anyone plans on bringing the knives back out.

I hope that won't be soon.