ON THE COUNCIL: Bob Leitch outside Town Hall yesterday and (inset) Ray Currie have been chosen to sit on Gympie Regional Council until March, next year.
ON THE COUNCIL: Bob Leitch outside Town Hall yesterday and (inset) Ray Currie have been chosen to sit on Gympie Regional Council until March, next year. Greg Miller

Gympie Regional Council gets two new members

A GYMPIE High school teacher and the former top bureaucrat of Kilkivan Shire Council will join Gympie Regional Council after being voted in yesterday by their new colleagues.

The council called for nominations earlier this year for two people to fill the seats vacated by Mick Curran, elected mayor in February, and Tony Perrett, elected Gympie MP in the January state election.

William "Bob" Leitch, 48, is a born and bred Gympie son, is married to wife Correne and has two sons. He is one of three children of Marj and the late Ron Leitch.

A former student of Gympie South State School and Gympie High, he now teaches agriculture at Gympie High and coaches representative school boys rugby league.

He played rugby league for Rainbows back in his younger days, and then for Gympie itself.

He has been president of both Gympie junior and senior rugby league, and is involved in Men of League and Darren Burns' Smarter Choices program.

Ray Currie, who is in Ireland on holiday this week, was the CEO of the Kilkivan council for many years, working with the late Ron Dyne and Mr Perrett, before that council amalgamated with Cooloola in 2008.

Ray Currie
Ray Currie

Speaking outside the Town Hall before being sworn in yesterday, Mr Leitch said he felt "humbled" and was looking forward to the challenge of being a councillor.

He will represent Division 7 of the region (the Southside) and Mr Currie will represent Division 6 (the western district).

In a move designed to ensure the selection process remained above reproach, the entire council declared a "perceived conflict of interest" in the matter yesterday.

"Given the nature of the extensive community involvement of applicants for the vacant councillor positions and the connections with current councillors such community involvement can create, all councillors declared a perceived conflict of interest in their necessary involvement in the selection and appointment process to fill the vacancies," the council minutes note.

"Further to s173(6) of the Local Government Regulation 2012, having declared a perceived conflict of interest, all councillors remained in the meeting and voted on the matter."

Cr Curran said yesterday "on behalf of council, I congratulate and welcome Crs Currie and Leitch to Gympie Regional Council, and look forward to working with them to achieve some great outcomes for their divisions and for the region as a whole".

The term of office of both new councillors will be effective through to the local government quadrennial election to be held in March 2016.

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