Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Gerard O'Connell.
Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Gerard O'Connell. Alistair Brightman

Mayor to quit as chairman of Fraser Coast Opportunities

MAYOR Gerard O'Connell will stand down from the Fraser Coast Opportunities chair, as some other councillors consider making a move to bring the tourism organisation back under their control.

Speaking to the Chronicle yesterday, Cr O'Connell confirmed his preference was to stand down from the position, but acknowledged nothing was official.

"My intention is to transition from the position of chair and to have an

independent director fulfil the role of chair of FCO," he said. "I took the role and have maintained the role because I thought, in the start-up stages in FCO for the first 12-15 months as mayor, that that was something that I should take responsibility for."

At present the FCO board consists of five voluntary independent directors, the mayor and the council's chief executive.

Cr O'Connell denied there was tension between the council and FCO board, and said the resignation of director Glen Winney last week didn't influence his decision to stand down.

"It's always been my intention to transition. I'm not precious about that position at all," he said.

Cr O'Connell said he believed the board was enormously professional.

"I'm now getting calls from businesses around Australia and from State Government ministers who know the Fraser Coast is on the map because of the work of FCO," he said.

But despite the mayor's optimism, a move to take over FCO could still come to fruition, with Cr Rolf Light refusing to rule such a move out.

Asked if there had been any discussions between councillors about a possible FCO takeover, Cr Light offered a "no comment".

On whether he would be part of a motion if it eventuated, he said he could, depending on circumstances.

"Under a particular circumstance I may or may not," he said.

Cr Light was still unsure of FCO's "competitive advantage of being separate" from the council.

"I do believe they need to concentrate on existing small business and primary producers," he said.



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