NEARLY 10 years after entering local government, a former soldier has achieved a career goal with his appointment as Indigo Council chief executive.
Gerry Smith was yesterday named the new boss of a shire that includes Rutherglen, Beechworth, Yackandandah and Chiltern.
He has signed a four-year contract with the council.
Mr Smith, who has worked for a Melbourne council since 2007, grew up at Sunbury.
Indigo chose him from among 62 applicants.
He replaces Brendan McGrath, who is now chief executive at Wangaratta Council.
“It’s a real privilege,” Mr Smith said of his appointment.
“I have been an executive in local government for a number of years and to actually be the chief executive of a rural shire has always been a career aspiration in many ways.”
Mr Smith is the director of organisational development and urban safety at Moreland Council, which covers Brunswick, Coburg, Pascoe Vale and several other northern suburbs.
He spent 23 years as an army officer, from 1976 to 1999, including overseas service.
Since leaving the army, he has worked for the Melbourne Market Authority, Carrier Air Conditioning, Battiston Consulting and Brimbank Council before joining Moreland.
Mr Smith said his decision to take up the Indigo Council job was an easy one.
“Going back to my days in the military when we were operating out of Puckapunyal, we travelled and moved extensively around this area,” he said.
“I have always loved the country and this region, so I am familiar with places and the top-ography of the area.”
Mr Smith said Indigo’s financial security was a factor, too.
“It’s a financially stable shire with a functioning council that work well together,” he said.
“I am looking forward to working with communities to prioritise opportunities for their growth and development.
Mr Smith aims to move to the shire before his June 2 start date and will be joined by his wife, Dimity, a VCE teacher, by the end of the year.
Mayor Bernard Gaffney welcomed Mr Smith, saying he had a wealth of experience in public and private sectors.
“Gerry was an absolute standout of the 62 candidates,” Cr Gaffney said.