David Farmer is no stranger to embattled local councils.
Finishing an 11-year stint as general manager of Wollongong City Council, Mr Farmer led the Council through a 3-year period of administration and oversaw key foreshore developments.
Only in his second day of his new position as CEO of Ipswich City Council, Mr Farmer knows he needs to restore the faith of Ipswich’s ratepayers.
“We have to develop a strong and robust organisation as possible to be able to support a newly-elected council,” he said.
“If the staff are well organised and we have good systems in place, then the Council will fit in neatly.
“It’s really important to restore the public’s trust in the organisation.. if I can play a role in that, then I can leave the organisation as a legacy, and I will have done my job.”
Mr Farmer is excited at the prospect of managing one of the country’s fastest growing cities, acknowledging that Ipswich is a key logistics hub and proud garrison city.
“I’m already seeing that Ipswich is positioned as a key logistics hub in South East Queensland,” he said.
“Our Defence sector is primed.
“Manufacturing, property, construction and health industries are all very strong, and we are highly regarded as an innovative city.”
Becoming the sixth CEO in the space of five years, Mr Farmer is approaching the job with a long term view.
“I never want to stay anywhere too long, and that is why I left Wollongong,” he said.
“My history is that I was at Mudgee for almost five years, Cairns for almost 7 years, I was at Wollongong for almost 11 years.. I’m not someone who chops and changes for short periods of time, I’m taking a long term view.”
Ipswich City Council Administrator Greg Chemello said the recruitment process required an extensive amount of checks, which ultimately delivered the best candidate in the country.
“Very excited personally and for the city that someone of David’s calibre has put his hand up to help the city become what it should be and bring us back to being a leading Council,” Mr Chemello said.
“It’s early days for him, but he’s certainly hit the ground running.”
Ipswich City Council was forced to recruit for a full-time CEO after two previous chief executives were charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission with official corruption.
The previous CEO, Sean Madigan, only lasted in the position for several months before being demoted to his previous position as Chief Operating Officer of Health Security and Regulatory Services within the Council.
The state government dismissed Ipswich City Council in August 2018 after extensive corruption allegations occurred, with the next Council election set for March 2020.