David Keenan, the new Scenic Rim Regional Council CEO, talked about working together, forward planning and workforce shortages when he addressed the local business community for the first time.
In his eighth day on the job, Mr Keenan was guest speaker at Council’s fully booked Business Breakfast on 7 December.
He spoke with confidence underpinned by his background in economic development and town planning and his experience as CEO at a long list of councils including Mitchell Shire, Hume City (acting), Tweed Shire, Southern Downs Regional and Mount Isa City councils.
In addressing guests at the Business Breakfast, he started by reflecting on matters local business owners had raised with him during an opportunity to mingle that morning.
“They’ve given me feedback on what a good place this is to be but some of the challenges that obviously relate to employment and trying to attract those people to the different workplaces. From a Council point of view, I know we’re at least 70 positions short at this period which makes it all the more challenging to try and promote the best attributes of this wonderful municipality,” he said.
“What is apparent in most of the places I’ve worked at is councils are going through change, usually relating to whether there is urban encroachment in agricultural areas or whether there is a need to do further industrial development.”
Mr Keenan said his door was always open.
“You have to have those partnerships; you have to have a level of trust in dealing with your industries and businesses in a region and you’ve got to be in constant communication with them because things change rapidly in the private sector,” he said.
“My mobile number will be on my card when I get some cards, so you’ll be able to give me a ring and say, ‘David, have you got 5 minutes?’ I’ve made the same comment to my staff, the Mayor and Councillors. My door is always open… if it’s a good idea or you want to bounce something off me or there’s something you have a dreadful issue with, please let me know. Please don’t let me know via social media – I don’t do social media, the only thing I do is put happy things on LinkedIn.”