Tweed Shire Council has chosen a replacement for retiring general manager Mike Rayner, who leaves office in April.
He is David Keenan, 46 (pictured), currently the chief executive officer of Mitchell Shire Council on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.
Mr Keenan is set to take over the reins on April 30, three days after Mr Rayner vacates his office.
The decision follows a unanimous decision of six of the seven Tweed councillors at a confidential extraordinary meeting on Monday.
Cr Katie Milne, who was controversially expelled from the selection panel by other councillors after telling Echonetdaily it would have been ‘wonderful’ to see a female general manager get the top job or someone with environmental credentials, boycotted the meeting.
Before his role at the helm of Mitchell Shire Council, Mr Keenan spent four years as director city sustainable development at neighbouring Hume Shire Council, responsible for areas including strategic planning, statutory town planning, economic development, environment and urban development.
A Tweed Council press release announcing the appointment says Mr Keenan has a Masters degree from the University of Melbourne, a Masters in Business Administration from Victoria University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Planning and the Environment from RMIT, as well as a number of other qualifications.
Mayor Barry Longland welcomed the appointment, saying that Mr Keenan would bring many ‘desirable qualities’ to the role.
‘He is coming to us from a shire with similar growth pressures, with a significant agricultural sector, and this background is particularly relevant to the challenges he will face in Tweed,’ Cr Longland said.
‘He has a strong interest in this part of the world and has holidayed here many times, and has always found this area very attractive.’
Cr Longland said Mr Keenan is the former inaugural chair of Economic Development Australia, as well as being a long-term board member of Environs Australia.
‘Most recently, David was appointed as part of a six-person ministerial advisory committee to review the Victorian planning system and has also been involved with a number of not-for-profit organisations.’
Mr Keenan said he was ‘looking forward to the challenge of achieving sustainable development in the Tweed Shire’.
‘Ensuring that there are strong economic development opportunities that can be accommodated in a manner that does not impact on the local environment and are supported by an engaged community is an outcome I will be seeking to achieve.
‘I believe that the economic, environmental and social infrastructure located in the Tweed Shire has the potential to be utilised to create competitive advantages that add value to the Tweed’s diverse communities.’
Mr Keenan is married to Jane, a family lawyer, and the couple has two children, Charlotte, 14 and Harry, 11. His interests include coaching and playing basketball and surfing.
Cr Longland praised outgoing GM Mr Rayner’s ‘substantial contribution’ saying he would leave the Tweed ‘in a strong position, both in financial terms and with an established future vision’.
Cr Milne told Cr Longland in a letter she was doing so because of her ‘concerns for proper governance’ in light of her recent expulsion from the panel and interview process.