Out of office: Surf Coast Shire CEO Keith Baillie resigns for Gforce role
THE Surf Coast Shire council’s chief executive officer Keith Baillie is resigning from the role after more than five years.
Mr Baillie, who will become the new chief executive officer of Geelong not-for-profit Gforce Employment Solutions in September, said the council had made “strong progress in being a great organisation”, in areas such as financial, project and asset management, governance and the customer experience.
“We are also clear as to why we exist: to help our community and environment to thrive,” he said on Tuesday.
“Surf Coast is well regarded for its regional contribution and has been enormously successful in advocating for grants and policy outcomes.
“Council is well positioned to continue the important reform required by its financial challenge, through being clear about its services and how they are delivered, with a focus on serving its community and the increased use of technology.
“The community is fortunate to have council staff that are so skilled and committed and I wish them all the best.”
Mr Baillie, who became the shire’s chief executive officer in January 2015 to replace the outgoing Stephen Wall, declined to answer questions from this newspaper about how much time he had remaining on his contract with the council, or how the opportunity with Gforce came about.
In a media release from Gforce, Mr Baillie said he “recognised the significant role that Gforce had in the lives of its clients”.
“Gforce is dedicated to helping people achieve employment. This is an important and caring responsibility that I take to heart.
“I am honoured and excited to join the Gforce team in serving its communities. Together we can build on the achievements to date and look to a great future.”
“Having senior executive experience in the corporate sector and CEO experience in local government, Keith was a stand-out candidate,” Gforce chair Bill Mithen said.
Surf Coast mayor Rose Hodge said Mr Baillie’s legacy would include a record capital works program, a dedication to achieving long-term financial sustainability for the council, and governance reforms which have improved councillors’work practice.
“Personally, I am sad he is leaving but on behalf of the whole organisation I wish him all the best for the next chapter in his career.
“Keith has demonstrated enormous drive and commitment to the region – I recall our trips to Parliament House to lobby federal government minsters where I saw first-hand his commitment and professionalism in representing the shire and broader region.
“We’ve achieved substantial funding for projects shire-wide – from Stribling Reserve in Lorne to the Torquay multi-purpose indoor stadium.”