Bernard Smith and Bob Fredman were not close.
Bernard Smith and Bob Fredman were not close.

Gympie council shenanigans replaced with breath of fresh air

A SIGNIFICANT example of the kind of shenanigans that went on under the Curran Smith regime of Gympie Regional Council has finally met its end today with the irrefutable proof published on page 5 that in spite of the years of looking people in the eye and denying it, former council director of engineering Bob Fredman was sacked.

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Former Gympie council CEO Bernard Smith and former mayor Mick Curran in the council chambers.
Former Gympie council CEO Bernard Smith and former mayor Mick Curran in the council chambers.

He did not resign or retire, as Mr Curran and Mr Smith insisted, even providing a photograph of his somewhat meagre “retirement morning tea” (after 40 years service and leadership) as proof he had resigned.

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'PROOF': Proof that Bob Fredman retired from the council and was not sacked, former Gympie region mayor Mick Curran said at the time, is this photograph from Mr Fredman's retirement party.
'PROOF': Proof that Bob Fredman retired from the council and was not sacked, former Gympie region mayor Mick Curran said at the time, is this photograph from Mr Fredman's retirement party.

It is one example of why the community lost faith in that council and expressed that loss of faith at the ballot box.

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Already the vibe of the new Hartwig council is a breath of fresh air blowing through Town Hall and the Gympie region, as it sincerely strives to be open, respectful and accountable.

The council and acting CEO Pauline Gordon have taken the reins in the middle of the biggest crisis to face this region in living memory and nursing us through it will not be easy.

Based purely on percentages we can estimate 3500 local residents have already lost their jobs as a direct result of the lockdown. For a region already saddled with bad unemployment, this is devastating.

Rates relief has been taken up by more than 500 people and businesses across the region, and the council is today reopening parks, playgrounds and skate parks as restrictions begin to ease. Libraries won’t reopen until May 25, with a new click and collect service to help maintain social distancing.

It is jobs and our local economy, though, that must get the lion’s share of attention from all three tiers of government as we continue to emerge from shutdown.

News that the first shovels will hit the ground on the Gympie Bypass Section D in two months is welcome and timely.

First meeting of the new elected council - Bob Fredman, Dolly Jensen, Shane Waldock, Jess Milne, Bruce Devereaux, Mayor Glen Hartwig, Warren Polley, Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon and Dan Stewart
First meeting of the new elected council - Bob Fredman, Dolly Jensen, Shane Waldock, Jess Milne, Bruce Devereaux, Mayor Glen Hartwig, Warren Polley, Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon and Dan Stewart