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Gold Coast Council CEO in shock resignation just weeks into $600,000 job

Politics

The Gold Coast’s new council chief who has been in his $600,000-a-year job only a matter of weeks, has quit.

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David Edwards, who was appointed in a shock 14-1 vote by the city’s councillors to oust long-time Gold Coast CEO Dale Dickson, officially resigned around noon today due to health reasons.

Edwards had taken leave just days after he started in the job on Monday 22 March. He was due to return to work on 12 April. However, councillors were informed via email that he would not be returning.

It is understood Edwards’ resignation is in relation to a health issue that has arisen since he was awarded the prime city job.

It has been a rugged period for the incoming council chief, who said he had high hopes for accelerating the Gold Coast’s tourism and business economy.

Within days of winning the role, it 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.  Many Gold Coast councillors claimed they had not been informed of the investigation and findings before voting to appoint him.

However, Edwards rejected the findings, maintaining he was targeted by a “small group of senior public servants” and was pursuing legal action.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate stood by the appointment, stating he was aware of the proceedings against Edwards before he was offered the CEO job.

Edwards was among 80 applicants for the City of Gold Coast position.

A long-time prominent figure in Queensland political and policy circles, Edwards served as former deputy premier Jeff Seeney’s chief of staff before working in several plum public service roles in both LNP and Labor governments. He is the son of former Bjelke-Petersen era treasurer and Expo 88 supremo Sir Llew Edwards.

On 22 February, the shortlist of five candidates, including Edwards and former CEO Dickson, was presented to the Gold Coast Council.

It is understood the city may now consider pursuing the male applicant who narrowly missed getting the nod in favour of Edwards to become the next CEO.

Alternatively, a new recruitment process will have to begin.

Council will meet on Wednesday in a one-off session to consider the way forward following Edwards’ resignation.

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