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My name’s Gerard and I’ll be your gardener

Mayor Gerard O'Connell changes roles for a day and gets his hands dirty.
Mayor Gerard O'Connell changes roles for a day and gets his hands dirty. Robyne Cuerel

NO, FRASER Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell hasn't been demoted. 

Instead Cr O'Connell enjoyed a temporary change of scenery as he spent the day changing the scenery at Queens Park in Maryborough as part of the Fraser Coast Council's annual job swap day.

For the entire day on Wednesday, Cr O'Connell did away with the suit and tie to get his hands dirty, working as a gardener in the council's parks and gardens department.

The Mayor worked under the watchful eye of experienced parks and gardens supervisor Peter Souvlis.

"Gerard was dressed in his outside gear just like us," he said.

"We took him over to Woolworths for morning tea and the whole fruit, veg and deli section virtually stopped.

"Customers and staff, you could see them straining as they looked out of the corner of their eye and you could see them thinking to themselves 'Is that the Mayor?'"

Cr O'Connell said the day proved a great opportunity for councillors to experience the different departments and duties involved in council.

"I think a job swap broadens everybody's view of the diversity of a council," he said.

"We work around our roles but I think it is good for myself and my elected colleagues to have a snapshot and walk in the shoes of some other roles.

"It helps in our appreciation of what they're doing."

While it was business as usual after job swap day, Cr O'Connell said he enjoyed his time working outdoors.

"We planted just over 700 marigolds in Queens Park," he said.

"I really enjoyed it.

"It was nice being outdoors, you meet people as people come up and talk to you."

Topics:  fraser coast regional council, gardening, gerard oconnell, mayor



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