GYMPIE council governance guru Brian Hayes has officially called time on a four decade run with the organisation spanning six mayors, six CEOs and 15 different roles.

Mr Hayes’ resignation was announced at this week’s council workshop and is the latest senior departure in the wake of the March election.

He was due to retire in the middle of next year.

Mr Hayes said his choice to end his run early was about timing.

Brian Hayes reckons it’s time to put his feet up.
Brian Hayes reckons it’s time to put his feet up.

“The time out there for six months versus a little bit of extra money, the balance just wasn’t there.”

“It’s good for the organisation too.

“It’s stupid me applying for a job for six months that I know I’m going to walk away from.”

“That doesn’t make sense to me; it doesn’t help the organisation, either.”

He joined the then-Widgee Shire Council in 1979; during those years of local government it was not unusual for people to bring in dingo scalps in exchange for a $20 bounty.

One of his early jobs with the council had been to cart upstairs tins of herbicide 2,4,5-T – otherwise known as Agent Orange.

It was still the era that stood out the most.

Brian Hayes talks the council through agenda items at this week’s meeting.
Brian Hayes talks the council through agenda items at this week’s meeting.

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“Probably in the early days (with Widgee Shire in the 1980s) there was a lot more fun; it was a different era, a lot less rules and regulations,” he said.

“We seemed to get the job done and just have a lot more fun doing it.”

And the best thing from his 42 year run?

“The people. I’ve worked with some amazing people over those years,” Mr Hayes said.

His musical interests will play a big part in what comes next (he runs his own studio in Gympie and teaches online), but they would be joined by relaxation and enjoying life.

“I’ve been working constantly for 42 years.

“I left school straight into a job.”

Brian Hayes outside the council’s Mary St offices in 2019.
Brian Hayes outside the council’s Mary St offices in 2019.

And after such a long time with the council, staff and councillors refused to let him go quietly into the night.

Mr Hayes was forced to wade through six agenda items at this week’s meeting, from revisions to the council’s meeting standing orders to its investigation policy.

There was no small amount of ribbing, including councillor Shane Waldock pointing out Mr Hayes started his first local government job about the same time Mr Waldock was born.

“I’m 42 years old,” Mr Waldock said.

CEO Shane Gray said the loss of Mr Hayes’ 42 years of knowledge would leave a “big hole”.

“I’d give him a cuddle but that’s not COVID friendly,” Mr Gray said.

Mayor Glen Hartwig called Mr Hayes the “last of the Mohicans” and thanked him for his outstanding work as a public servant.

Mr Hayes left the meeting’s hot seat for the last time just before 1pm to a standing ovation.

Gympie Times


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