NAMED: Ipswich City Council appoints veteran boss as new CEO
IPSWICH City Council's new chief executive officer has been named.
David Farmer has more than 20 years at the helm of council administration; one facing parallel challenges to Ipswich.
In his most recent role as general manager of Wollongong City Council, Mr Farmer worked with administrators and restored democratic governance.
Wollongong Council was dismissed after a public hearing in 2008.
"There are definitely some similarities in Ipswich, most importantly the need to restore public confidence and trust," Mr Farmer acknowledged.
"I wanted a role where I could bring my skills to bear on something significant.
"The combination of governance and growth issues in Ipswich present that challenge.
"The success of Ipswich City Council over the next few years is critical to the development of southeast Queensland and also to the perception of Local Government to the Queensland public."
His first day at Ipswich City Council will be February 4.
Mr Farmer said his time in Wollongong was rocky at the start, but deeply satisfying.
"Restoring the council's finances took almost a decade, but has meant that we can now adequately care for the assets the community uses and loves," he said.
"We have tripled our capital program since I arrived and that has meant we have been able to invest in long neglected assets such as roads, footpaths, community building and pools."
Administrator Greg Chemello said Mr Farmer's experience would be valued when defining, implementing and managing strict governance policies and procedures needed for the council to restore community trust.
"We're working very hard to put in systems and structures which will help generate confidence in councils elected beyond 2020," Mr Chemello said.
"And I am confident David Farmer is the right man to drive this council into the next decade."
In Wollongong, Mr Farmer saw the commencement of Fowler's Rd Bridge, a $90 million project which began after 30 years of discussion.
"It's probably too soon to start talking about projects in detail, however I'm proud that my experience is in councils of a similar size," he said.
"Wollongong has a very proud workforce of more than 1000 staff, and Cairns was also a progressive council. "Cairns, Wollongong and Ipswich have a rich working class history, and are in the process of spruiking their post-industrial growth credentials.
"That means it's an exciting time, and I'm well aware that Ipswich is one of the country's fastest-growing cities."
Mr Farmer's appointment was unanimously agreed to by the selection committee.
Mr Chemello said he had been impressed by the commitment of more than 1200 staff within council who are dedicated to their roles, "hell-bent on making Ipswich a more liveable city as it grows as fast as any city in Australia".
"I can't thank staff enough for the support they are giving me as we implement Vision2020, and I'm sure they'll welcome someone of David's calibre and experience with exactly the same enthusiasm," he said.
"The city is moving forward at a rate of knots.
"Today's announcement is another critical cog in the wheel of progress for Ipswich."