Integrity chief helps do 'background checks' on council CEO

QUEENSLAND'S Integrity Commissioner has been appointed to a panel in the process of vetting applicants to become Ipswich City Council's chief executive officer.

Recruitment for a CEO closed on November 5.

Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov was a late appointment to the interview panel, which is preparing to recommend a candidate to administrator Greg Chemello.

The council received 38 applications from people currently working in southeast Queensland, regional Queensland, interstate and New Zealand, including many current CEOs of local governments and corporations.

Mr Chemello said applications were assessed and shortlisted by the recruitment firm in consultation with the interview panel, which held interviews last week.

Interim management committee member Steve Greenwood, USQ Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie, Queensland Integrity Commissioner Dr Stepanov and former Ipswich City Council acting CEO Gary Kellar comprise the panel.

Mr Chemello hoped to announce the successful appointee before Christmas.

"The interview panel advised me that the interviewed field of candidates was excellent and, through the recruitment firm, the panel is currently undertaking extensive background checks prior to finalising a recommended candidate to me," he said.

The search for a new CEO started on October 5 after Sean Madigan was demoted one week earlier.

Mr Chemello said the decision for Mr Madigan to return to his old role as head of the council's department was a mutual one.

The council has also started advertising for a new People and Culture manager.

According to the advertisement, the senior manager would "champion the workplace culture and organisational performance improvement agenda".

The successful applicant would also oversee "cultural change strategies focusing on the development of leadership" and "team effectiveness".

Ratepayers are footing the bill for Mr Kellar to advise Ipswich City Council's acting CEO Charlie Dill on a part-time basis.

He was tasked with providing guidance to Mr Dill and the leadership team.

The cost of Mr Kellar's part-time role or the agreement with the council was not revealed despite questions by the QT last month.

Mr Chemello said Mr Kellar's experience would benefit the city.

"Mr Kellar has a fine reputation in local government," he told the QT in October.

"Before he became acting CEO of Ipswich City Council, Mr Kellar was employed to offer independent advice around governance issues.

"Mr Kellar is a welcome addition to the team which is looking to create a governance model for Ipswich, considered exemplary in local government circles."