NEW CHAPTER: Gladstone Regional Councils new chief executive officer Leisa Dowling.
NEW CHAPTER: Gladstone Regional Councils new chief executive officer Leisa Dowling. Mike Richards GLA071118NCEO

COUNCIL'S NEW ERA: Familiar face appointed as CEO

IN THE wake of Gladstone Regional Council's major restructure, Leisa Dowling has been chosen to steer the organisation into a new phase.

After holding senior leader positions at the council for eight years, Ms Dowling was today confirmed as the new chief executive officer.

Ms Dowling replaces Roslyn Baker, who resigned in September, 13 months after she took on the role.

The appointment follows the council completing a major restructure that is expected to save the organisation $14.4million.

The changes led to more than 100 redundancies and a new director structure.

There were 139 positions created.

Hoping to shift the council's focus to community engagement and delivering outcomes for the region, Ms Dowling said she wanted more clarity around what the council had done and what it wanted to achieve.

 

"In the past 12 months it's been the most rapid change that I've seen in my time here," Ms Dowling said.

"Right now I think people skills are really important, we need to focus on engaging with our staff and community.

"We need to get good clarity on the expectations of the community, what they think value for rates are and to be more visible in the region."

Ms Dowling said her eight years of experience in a range of general manager and director roles would help her make decisions in the CEO position.

"Having been in the organisation for this time and seen the changes and seen what's worked... it's going to be really helpful," she said.

"It's going to be important to be able to connect with our people to facilitate their ideas and to continue this transformation."

Among Ms Dowling's short-term goals is finalising the organisation's new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

The EBA discussions prompted some workers to strike last month in a bid to gain pay rises and job security.

Council workers united during protected industrial strike action on the steps of Gladstone Council Chambers on 16 October, 2018.
Council workers united during protected industrial strike action on the steps of Gladstone Council Chambers on 16 October, 2018. Matt Taylor GLA161018STRIKE

Ms Dowling said the council had negotiated with the unions and was close to finalising the new agreement.

She said the council had recently changed the proposed EBA to include a no-forced-redundancy clause and provisions for job security.

Asked what workers could expect in terms of job security, she said these changes "clearly showed" council's intentions.

Ms Dowling is also supportive of the council's ongoing goal to bring more work in-house.

A regular volunteer at her sons' rugby league club, tending to blood noses and strapping knees at the oval, Ms Dowling said community engagement would be an important part of her role.

"I consider it an honour and a privilege," she said.

"We have a good strategy and I think our new corporate and operational plan is the best I've seen in my time at the council.

"The blueprint is there, now it's about progressing down that transformation journey at a pace we can sustain."

Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett said the council focused on internal applicants who had been with the organisation during the recent restructure.

Ms Dowling was acting CEO during the recruitment process.

"Leisa is highly regarded across the organisation and has a genuine passion to lead council to achieve positive outcomes for council, its employees and the community," Cr Burnett said.



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