Published by Cobram Courier online on April 3, 2014.

This article also appeared in print on April 2.


Moira Shire Council received more than 50 applications from throughout Australia and New Zealand for the chief executive role before deciding on a candidate much closer to home, Mayor Peter Mansfield said.

Former Mildura Rural City Council chief executive Mark Henderson will bring decades of experience to the role when he moves to head Moira Shire Council next month.

Cr Mansfield on Monday announced Mr Henderson’s appointment, which follows six months of uncertainty after the departure of former Moira chief executive Gary Arnold in October.

Mr Arnold was sacked by councillors during a council meeting, and replaced by director Peter Bertolus in the interim, who made an unsuccessful bid for the position won by Mr Henderson.

Mr Henderson was selected by a special committee comprised of all nine councillors.

‘‘As far as the overwhelming majority of the council were concerned, he was the outstanding candidate,’’ Cr Mansfield said.

‘‘There were three candidates in the second round and Mark came out well in front of the second and third candidates.’’

Cr Mansfield denied suggestions that the widespread interest in the position was due to an attractive salary package.

‘‘The package wasn’t in the brief for the position,’’ he said.

‘‘We negotiated the package with the successful applicant.’’

A raft of claims ranging from bullying to mismanagement within council emerged after then chief financial officer Adrian Pawar quit his role last August, and intensified last month as Victorian Local Government Department and Australian Services Union officials revealed a number of complaints were being assessed and investigated.

Cr Mansfield said there had been no discussions between council and Mr Henderson about the issues, and said he hoped ‘‘everything settles down so we can get back to providing services the ratepayers require’’.

‘‘Local government is a very complex area to be CEO of,’’ Cr Mansfield said.

‘‘Mark ticks all the boxes (regarding) experience and success in that area.’’

Cr Mansfield said one of Mr Henderson’s first tasks would be to fill a director position left empty after the departure of former development and liveability director Paul Squires in October last year.

Mr Henderson could also play a vital role in debt reduction, Cr Mansfield said.

‘‘His financial controls that he’s been able to perform at Mildura held him in very good stead,’’ Cr Mansfield said.

AuthorToni Brient