Council CEO sensationally quits
THE Gold Coast's top bureaucrat David Edwards has resigned, just three weeks after replacing Dale Dickson as council CEO.
Councillors were told of Mr Edwards' resignation in an email from Mayor Tom Tate on Wednesday. It is believed to be health related.
Mr Edwards took personal leave late in March for an unspecified amount of time. But staff were expecting him to return in April.
Council will hold a special meeting next Wednesday to determine how to fill the position.
Mayor Tate declined to comment, saying only: "In respect to council I won't be commenting until after next Wednesday's special meeting."
A council source told the Bulletin: "All the councillors have been given an email. David Edwards will not be coming back. We think it is for family reasons, due to some ill health."
The Bulletin announced in late February that Mr Edwards had won the city's top job, ending Mr Dickson's 18-year reign.
Mr Edwards had served as then Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney's chief of staff in the Newman government before being promoted to director general of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.
Under the Labor government, he had been the projects chief executive at the Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development.
Mr Edwards had been involved with negotiations of the proposed casino-resort planned for Southport's Carey Park before being halted by the government, and earlier with Mr Seeney, who pushed unsuccessfully for a casino hotel development as part of a proposed cruise ship terminal at Wavebreak Island in the Broadwater.
After councillors voted 14-1 to approve the Mayor negotiating the $600,000-plus contract, Mr Edwards told Cr Tate about a departmental investigation that found he had failed to manage and disclose an actual or potential conflict of interest with private industry executives.
Mr Edwards maintained he was targeted by a "small group of senior public servants" and their comments were "both disappointing and defamatory and I will be considering my legal options".
Several city councillors were furious with Mayor Tate for not being updated on the misconduct findings during Mr Edwards' contract talks for the CEO position.
In late March, councillors were sent an email stating that Mr Edwards would be on leave for an unspecified amount of time.
"Mr Edwards has taken personal leave due to a family member's poor health. He is expected to be back on April 12," a spokesman for Mayor Tate said at the time.
MARCH 31 REPORT
DAYS after the Gold Coast City Council's new CEO took the chair he has taken time off on leave.
Councillors were sent an email late last week stating that David Edwards - who replaced longtime CEO Dale Dickson - would be on leave for an unspecified amount of time, a spokesman for the Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said.
"Mr Edwards has taken personal leave due to a family member's poor health. He is expected to be back on April 12," the spokesman said.
It is understood that despite being on leave Mr Edwards has been working from home.
Mr Edwards' first official day on the job was Monday, March 22.
The Bulletin spoke to the mayor's office at about 12.50pm on Wednesday.
At 1.28pm, Cr Tate sent an email to councillors.
"This is to advise that I granted pre-approved leave to the new CEO Mr David Edwards before he commenced his employment with the City," the email said.
"Now I note Greater Brisbane is in lockdown and David has not as yet moved to the Gold Coast.
"My appointment of Mr Joe McCabe as Acting CEO will continue a further two and half weeks."
Sources told the Bulletin that Mr Edwards had appointments with councillors earlier this week which were cancelled but have not been rescheduled.
Mr Edwards's appointment as the city's top public servant was not without controversy.
The job comes with a more than $600,000 pay packet.
After councillors voted 14-1 to hire Mr Edwards, it was revealed there had been three different misconduct findings against him for actions while working for a state government department.
Several city councillors were furious with Cr Tate after not being updated on misconduct findings against Mr Edwards.
Mr Edwards maintains he has been targeted by a "small group of senior public servants" and their comments were "both disappointing and defamatory and I will be considering my legal options".
Originally published as BREAKING: Gold Coast council CEO sensationally quits