Political career ends: Where are our former mayors now?
ONE DAY after his political career ended, Gerard O'Connell was in discussions about his future plans and aspirations.
Mr O'Connell confirmed he was in talks about filling a consultancy or business role where he can still "be involved in the community".
The outgoing mayor of the Fraser Coast also spoke about the time in office, declaring he loved being involved with "so many wonderful people's lives".
Optimistic about the future, Mr O'Connell reflected on the past four-and-a-half years - from November 2011 when he stood on top of Oceans Resort (then Peppers Resort) in Hervey Bay and announced he would run for the top job.
He was convincingly victorious in 2012's race, attracting 58% of the vote against the incumbent Mick Kruger.
Focussing on the positive, Mr O'Connell says highlights include leading development of the region and working with the "professional" 700 local government staff.
"We have laid the groundwork and laid a foundation that we're really proud to promote the Fraser Coast as a place to live," he said.
Other highlights for Mr O'Connell included developing a Fraser Coast Planning Scheme, beautifying the Esplanade and "growing the potential" of the region.
In the four years of leading the region Mr O'Connell came under fire several times with the community accusing him of a lack of consultation, wasting ratepayer money and having poor leadership; leading to a fractured council.
A $65 million stamp duty bungle in the transfer of Wide Bay Water back to the council was led by Mr O'Connell.
In 2014 councillor George Seymour demanded the mayor tell residents what consultation was held when plans to remove cottonwood trees at Ernie Organ Park surfaced.
Leading in to the election Mr O'Connell knew he was stronger in Hervey Bay than Maryborough - an accurate prediction.
But his support in the Bay was not enough to overcome the significant margin he lost in the heritage city.
The former mayor said he knew many Maryborough residents felt they had been hard done by.
"There was a broad feel and it was certainly promoted by some other candidates that there was a sense of disadvantage there," Mr O'Connell said.
WHERE ARE MAYORS NOW?
Mick Kruger, Fraser Coast mayor (2008-2012): Retired but still volunteering
Barb Hovard, Maryborough mayor (2004-2008): Retired but still volunteering. She received an OAM last year for her services to the community including work with the Wide Bay Health and Hospital Board.
Ted Sorensen, Hervey Bay mayor (2000-2008): State Member for Hervey Bay