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It may be the best job in the world, so why is it so difficult to fill?

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It may well be one of the best-paid, most appealing jobs in one of the world’s best lifestyle locations – but the role as City of Gold Coast chief executive is also proving one of the most difficult to fill.

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In perhaps the most propitious alignment of talent-recruitment circumstances, including the golden glow of just being named an Olympic co-host city, the Gold Coast is today relaunching its search for a new city chief executive.

The job offers a top executive role within the relative safety of Queensland’s pandemic bubble in a city this week named by Time magazine as in the top 100 ‘greatest places in the world’.

It also offers key influence as the city prepares for a starring role in the 2032 Olympic Games and, if the lifestyle perks aren’t enough, a $600,000 pay packet.

While the Gold Coast expects global interest and Mayor Tom Tate is counting on a rush of applications from lockdown-plagued Melbourne and Sydney, it’s a job that has proved tricky to fill and offers recruits the typical bumpy terrain of local politics in the country’s second largest city council.

In a shock move earlier this year, long-standing CEO Dale Dickson was turfed out of the role after 18 years when councillors voted 14-1 against him in favour of a replacement.
That replacement, David Edwards, the son of Bjelke-Petersen-era deputy premier and treasurer, the late Sir Llew Edwards, then quit just weeks into the gig.

Edwards started the job on Monday 22 March, then took leave almost immediately. He then informed councillors on 12 April he would not be returning, citing health reasons. His father, Sir Llew, passed away one month later.

Within days of winning the role, it had also emerged that Edwards had been found to have committed three counts of misconduct by a State Government department in a former role that he held.

However, Edwards rejected the findings and said he was seeking legal action against “a small group of senior public servants” who he claimed had targeted him.

Instead of going back to the pool of applicants or even the shortlist, Tate declared that the city would go back to the market to fill the vacancy.

“I am looking forward to getting the highest-quality candidates and really, given what is happening with Sydney and Melbourne, if people are looking to relocate to a good job, have a look at this,” Tate said.

Long-serving council staffer Joe McCabe has been serving as acting CEO since Edwards went on leave in March.

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