Former mayor Mick Curran’s latest job application was unsuccessful, Merv Welch says.
Former mayor Mick Curran’s latest job application was unsuccessful, Merv Welch says.

‘Curran, ex-councillors failed job application’

I READ the expressions of gratitude to former Mayor Curran by Ms Pauline Dodt, editor Shelley Strachan and Federal Deputy Speaker Llew O’Brien (The Gympie Times, April 11).

And while I do not begrudge Mr Curran and those deposed councillors that public recognition (indeed I wish them all well) I cannot take on my share of the communal guilt that Ms Dodt, and to some extent Ms Strachan, implies we should feel for Mr Curran’s unceremonial departure from the mayoral office.

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Before the election, then Mayor Curran rightly advised council hopefuls to regard their candidacy as a “job application”.

The previous Gympie Regional Council during its last ordinary meeting before the 2020 election, March 4 2020. From left: Glen Hartwig, Dan Stewart, Bob Fredman, Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch, Mayor Mick Curran, Mark McDonald, Mal Gear, Hilary Smerdon and Daryl Dodt.
The previous Gympie Regional Council during its last ordinary meeting before the 2020 election, March 4 2020. From left: Glen Hartwig, Dan Stewart, Bob Fredman, Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch, Mayor Mick Curran, Mark McDonald, Mal Gear, Hilary Smerdon and Daryl Dodt.

The “advertised” jobs, which required no qualifications or prior experience, were prestigious, well- paid and guaranteed for four years. Understandably there was more than one applicant for each position.

Inevitably some applications were successful, others were not. Mayor Curran and four of his fellow councillors were among the unsuccessful applicants.

The majority of their employers (the ratepayers) decided (narrowly in a couple of cases) that their previous four years of service did not warrant an extension.

The new council, with five new faces: Bob Fredman, Dolly Jensen, Shane Waldock, Jess Milne, Bruce Devereaux, Mayor Glen Hartwig, Warren Polley, Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon and Dan Stewart
The new council, with five new faces: Bob Fredman, Dolly Jensen, Shane Waldock, Jess Milne, Bruce Devereaux, Mayor Glen Hartwig, Warren Polley, Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon and Dan Stewart

And I suggest that, ironically, Ms Strachan’s somewhat guarded and selective list of monumental projects might also have included Smithfield St, Mary of the Flood and the unfinished Upper Mary St beautification which, despite the assertion that they have “ … on the whole left our region a better place”, epitomise one of the major reasons for the mass sackings.

“Catches win matches” as they say of cricket, and just as truly, ”Perceptions decide elections”.

The past council was widely perceived to be too focused on “big spend”, iconic projects – to the apparent detriment of the provision of basic services.

Upper Mary St.
Upper Mary St.

It was not just the daunting, elastic, upfront costs of those mainly tourism-oriented projects, but the suspicion (especially in regard to the Rattler) of the heavy burden of ongoing maintenance, that bothered the ratepayers. And the spectacular depletion of the council’s financial reserves compounded their anxiety.

But, after all, it is not only Mr Curran who, in Ms Dodt’s words, has been ” … consigned to Gympie’s history”; it is the 2016-2020 Gympie Regional Council.

If it is any consolation to the regretful, history will record its achievements and almost certainly omit its perceived shortcomings.

Merv Welch, The Palms