UPDATE: Grateful for support, Manthey wants to move on
UPDATE 3.02PM: Happy the region is throwing their support behind him, Jeff Manthey has nonetheless said his preference is to move on.
More than 540 people have signed the petition after it emerged the 22-year manager of the Memorial Pool would not be involved in the new centre.
"While I appreciate the support from the community, I accept Belgravia's decision and I'm looking forward to moving on and making plans for the future," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Gympie Regional Council said hiring decisions for positions at the new aquatic centre was the responsibility of Belgravia Leisure, who were running the facility, and not the council.
According to the spokeswoman, Mr Manthey had been invited by the council to offer a tender for management of the centre, but he had declined the invitation.
Belgravia Leisure was closed for a public holiday today and unavailable for comment.
YESTERDAY: DESPITE having run three aquatic centres including the Centenary Pool in Brisbane, Jeff Manthey was notified by an area manager for Belgravia Leisure he doesn't have enough experience to work at the new Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre.
He took to Facebook to vent his frustration at having been cut from the interview process.
"...all I wanted was to run the new pool, a reward I felt (earned) for 22yrs of my life at the Memorial Pool.Well no. No reward. No thanks from the council. (I'm) just a number it seems."
He then spoke fondly of his time at the memorial pool and said he would miss working there and would miss the people he considered family and friends.
The people who read his post responded with outrage and disbelief and one of them, Tony Smillie, put a petition online at change.org to try and get 500 signatures together to convince those making the decisions to reconsider.
In just over 24 hours that petition has garnered 470 signatures with no signs of slowing.
The Gympie Times attempted to contact Mr Manthey this afternoon to get his view on the weight of public opinion currently forming behind him, but he has yet to respond.
In a letter to the editor published yesterday in The Gympie Times, Paul Dixon called for a "small closing ceremony" as a "fitting send-off" for Jeff Manthey and his staff at the Memorial Pool.
"I have been a regular lap swimmer in Gympie for well over 30 years and a lifetime swimmer since early childhood," Mr Dixon wrote.
"I have swum in many pools all over Australia and overseas. I rate Gympie pool as the best maintained pool of all of them.... We have been very lucky to have lessees of such high calibre."
If you would like to support the petition to have Mr Manthey reconsidered for a role at the new Gympie ARC click on this link to add your name to the petition.
"While I appreciate the support from the community, I accept Belgravia's decision and I'm looking forward to moving on and making plans for the future."