Retired senior public servant Tamara O’Shea has been appointed interim administrator of Logan City Council.
Her appointment took effect Thursday and follows the government’s dismissal of 13 councillors over an integrity crisis.
Last Friday the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission charged eight councillors, plus suspended Mayor Luke Smith, over their February 2018 decision to dump chief executive officer Sharon Kelsey at the end of her probationary period.
Dismissal was “the only option available to me” said Queensland Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, “given Logan City Council has lost its quorum and can no longer function effectively”.
“With nine of its 13 councillors automatically suspended as a result of serious integrity charges, council no longer had sufficient numbers to conduct meetings,” he said.
“This had left council unable to pass a budget, appoint an acting mayor or pass a resolution to delegate matters to a standing committee or the CEO.
“I have not taken this action lightly and I want to stress that I had no choice but to intervene in the best interests of Logan residents.
“This action does not interfere with any current legal proceedings and let me be clear any individuals facing charges are innocent until proven guilty.”
Hinchliffe said O’Shea brought a strong set of capabilities to the role of interim administrator.
O’Shea was most recently director-general of the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, and before that was head of the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing. She spent more than 30 years in the public sector at both state and federal level.
“Ms O’Shea is highly respected for her distinguished career as a senior public servant,” said the minister in a statement.
“Her skills as a senior executive administrator managing government interests in complex and rapidly evolving environments, while upholding high standards of ethical behaviour and high levels of business performance will be vital in this role.
“I look forward to working with her and I want to assure Logan residents all essential services will continue as usual.
“In the coming weeks, I’ll be appointing an interim management committee, just as I did for Ipswich City Council to assist the interim administrator there to perform his responsibilities.
“It’s my intention to offer the four non-suspended councillors — Lisa Bradley, Darren Power, Jon Raven and Laurie Koranski — appointments to this committee.”
Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk government would continue to pursue a wide-ranging suite of local government reforms to increase transparency and accountability in the sector.