Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer and Mayor Teresa Harding.
Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer and Mayor Teresa Harding.

‘He was poached’: Mayor says she will miss outgoing CEO

DEPARTING Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer will lead a $7.5 billion organisation in NSW after guiding the city through one of its most tumultuous periods.

Mr Farmer and Mayor Teresa Harding addressed media shortly after it was officially announced on Tuesday morning that Mr Farmer was resigning as CEO of Ipswich City Council, after two years in the job.

Both were quick to shoot down any talk of disharmony influencing the decision.

Upon learning of Mr Farmer’s resignation, residents took to social media to express concerns it could be indicative of turmoil within the council.

Resident Trenton Goodwin wrote: “I hope it not because of a toxic council again.”

While another agreed, saying the decision “really shows the turmoil on South St has been reignited since the end of administration.”

Cr Harding was questioned by the Queensland Times about whether Mr Farmer’s departure had anything to do with his performance, but she refused to be drawn, saying Mr Farmer had first been approached by his new employer.

“I can’t speak to that. David was poached from us, it’s obviously a promotion for him,” Cr Harding said.

Ipswich CEO David Farmer is taking on a new role as CEO of Central Coast Council in New South Wales next month.
Ipswich CEO David Farmer is taking on a new role as CEO of Central Coast Council in New South Wales next month.

“We’re going to miss him a lot, but he has built those really strong foundations for council when it comes to governance.”

“We’re the most transparent council now in Australia with our transparency and integrity hub, we’re the only council in Australia with that.”

Mr Farmer said his departure following a two-year tenure came with “mixed feelings.”

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“It’s been an honour to lead the organisation, the team, the staff at Ipswich City council for the last two years,” he said.

“I’m sad to be going, it’s with mixed feelings, but I’ve been given an opportunity in a very large council with some very significant problems.

“It’s neck and neck for the third biggest council in Australia.”

He said recent complaints relating to council maintenance did not influence his resignation, stating that the process of leaving Ipswich began long before those issues arose.

Mr Farmer said his departure was not related to an influx of complaints over council managed overgrown grassed areas.
Mr Farmer said his departure was not related to an influx of complaints over council managed overgrown grassed areas.

“The process to get recruited into running a $7.5 billion organisation happens a lot earlier than when the grass issues first came up,” Mr Farmer said.

“I think I can add my unique set of skills and my unique experience in dealing with very difficult local problems in that part of the world.”

Mr Farmer said he felt council was now in a stable condition with its elected government following a tumultuous few years when he first took office in 2019.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he said.

“The crisis I walked into has abated, we’ve done a lot of work.

“We’ve built a sound base for which my successor will be able to build on.”

Cr Harding said council would soon meet to determine who will act as interim CEO, before deciding who would take the job permanently.

“We need to take our time to make sure we get the process right for appointing a CEO,” she said.



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