Gympie resident Merv Welch welcomes new council CEO Shane Gray (pictured) to the region, but notes there are a few challenges ahead.
Gympie resident Merv Welch welcomes new council CEO Shane Gray (pictured) to the region, but notes there are a few challenges ahead.

’Some would say new CEO has been given a poisoned chalice’

Letter to the Editor:

CONGRATULATIONS on your appointment as CEO of our Gympie Regional Council and welcome to the region.

I watched and listened with interest to your interview with the Gympie Times reporter and I was impressed by your humility, your expression of gratitude and your demeanour.

I might add that we have something in common.

MORE GYMPIE NEWS

The new Gympie council leadership, Mayor Glen Hartwig and CEO Shane Gray.
The new Gympie council leadership, Mayor Glen Hartwig and CEO Shane Gray.

I spent some five years in the Wambo Shire when, as a much younger man, I was in charge of the One Teacher School at Malakoff Rd.

Back then Peter Thorley, who later held the position of Shire Clerk and still later became, I believe, CEO of Melbourne City Council, used to play for Waratahs in the local Rugby League competition.

But, to more relevant and more significant matters.

You have come to a region where many of the good people who live here feel they deserve better than what they have paid for in the past four years.

That is why the majority of councillors are new to their roles.

It is also why some would say you’ve been handed a poisoned chalice.

I think it is more like a cracked COVID-19 coffee mug.

The chalice, along with the rest of the silverware, has probably long since gone.

Anyway, I am sure you are already very much aware of the financial challenges confronting you.

Ongoing financial concerns will be a big hurdle for Mr Gray.
Ongoing financial concerns will be a big hurdle for Mr Gray.

There is something I feel you need to know though.

You mentioned our “hidden gems”and your wish to open them up to outsiders.

That sounds ominously like the road (and rail) that we have mainly travelled during the term of the previous council.

As you will see by the books, it has brought us to a place with more than a hint of the terminal about it.

Something that should work in your favour though is the commitment of the majority of councillors to meet publicly with their divisional constituents twice a year to discuss issues of local importance.

Mr Gray started in the role on Monday.
Mr Gray started in the role on Monday.

This is an important initiative, in contrast to the somewhat remote stance of the previous council, and such meetings, should you choose to attend, would provide you with opportunities to get to know at first hand the ratepayers and their grassroots concerns.

In all of your endeavours I am sure you have the good wishes (and fervent hopes) of the Gympie regional community.

Sincerely,

Merv Welch, The Palms