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UPDATE: Whitsunday councillors disappointed with departure

By Mark Beale

UPDATE 5.23pm:

The resignation of Whitsunday Regional Council chief executive officer Scott Waters came as a shock for deputy mayor John Collins.

When asked if he was worried the loss would set back development of the Whitsunday Coast Airport Cr Collins said “it was a concern”, given his dedication to seeing the facility move forward.

His said the decision to find his replacement would be made as a council shortly.

Fellow councillor Jan Clifford also said she was “really sad” about Mr Waters’ departure.

“I was a bit stunned,” she said.

“I’m not worried (about the airport however). I think there’s been great ground work put down.”

Councillor Dave Clark was confident council would be able to find an adequate replacement shortly, while councillor Ron Petterson declined to comment at this stage.

Mayor Andrew Wilcox, councillors Peter Ramage and Mike Brunker were uncontactable this afternoon.

Mr Waters has also been out of reach for comment.

EARLIER: Former Whitsunday Regional Council mayor Jenny Whitney believes there was a “sizeable push” from the current council behind the resignation of its chief executive officer Scott Waters this afternoon.

“We certainly need to read more into that,” Ms Whitney said.

“He possibly resigned but there would have certainly been a sizeable push behind that.

“One could only guess, there was no plan for him to leave (prior to the election).”

She also questioned the meetings “behind closed doors” that lead to the resignation.

But she said his departure came as no surprise.

“It was always mooted that Scott would be the first to go,” Ms Whitney said.

“The current mayor and other councillors in the board room didn’t like his innovative and progressive style.”

During his time at council, Ms Whitney said Mr Waters had been the driving force behind Whitsunday Airport’s development.

“The loss of him will put a halt to the airport (plans) in my view,” she said.

“There is no one else locally with the knowledge he had.”

INITIAL: As of today, Scott Waters is no longer the chief executive officer of Whitsunday Regional Council.

After fours years in the role, Mr Waters said he was grateful for his time as CEO and the challenges it put before him.

“It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have served the Whitsunday Regional Council, first as general manager of Whitsunday Coast Airport and then as council’s CEO and more recently heading up our newly formed Airport and Infrastructure Corporation,” he said.

Mr Waters said he had been “blown away” by the professionalism of council, but was eager to taking some time with loved ones.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other career opportunities,” he said.

Mayor Andrew Willcox praised Mr Waters for his efforts, wishing him well in the future.

“Scott has made a sound contribution to the Whitsunday community as council’s CEO over the past few years, and I acknowledge his efforts, particularly his commitment to driving the continued growth of the Whitsunday Coast Airport,” he said.

“On behalf of council’s elected members and staff, I wish Scott and Kim and their young family the very best in the future.”

Acting CEO Barry Omundson will continue in his role until a permanent CEO is appointed.

SOURCE: Whitsunday Times

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