At an unscheduled meeting of Ballarat City Council on January 6, the Council appointed Evan King as their new Chief Executive Officer effective February 15, 2021.
Mr King is currently the CEO of Hepburn Shire. He has been the CEO for two and a half years since his appointment in July, 2018.
In supporting the appointment, Ballarat Mayor Cr Daniel Moloney said that Evan King was well known throughout the region and that “while it is a loss to one of our neighbours, Hepburn Shire, it’s a wonderful gain for the city of Ballarat.”
Cr Moloney spoke of Mr King’s strong local government and industry experience. “His social experience and his business experience will be important to the City of Ballarat as we recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.”
Hepburn Shire Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt said “Evan has been an active and productive CEO of our Shire and he will be missed by not only by Councillors and the organisation, but also by many in the community.
“While we will be sad losing him to the City of Ballarat, it is a great appointment for the region and also for our Shire as we work with the City of Ballarat in many ways and having Evan there can only help us further strengthen our already strong partnership.”
Mr King’s resignation comes less than two months after the swearing in of the new Hepburn Shire councillors. Six of the seven current councillors are new to Council and senior council officers were considered vital to provide continuity and guidance for the new councillors. A priority task for council in the months to come is the development of the four-year council plan and budget and beyond that the 10-year Vision for the Shire.
Mayor Hewitt acknowledged that Mr King’s departure would impact on the transition for the newly elected Council but she added that “we have very good senior management, a legacy of Evan’s direction, and I am very confident that we will effectively manage the transition and planning processes ahead of us.”
“It is important to note that we are already implementing the appointment of an interim CEO to provide stability and continuity,” she said. “I have been impressed by the professionalism of senior staff in acknowledging this sudden loss and by their commitment to moving forward.”
Mr King was appointed at a time of considerable controversy surrounding the Rex project in Daylesford. It was revealed at the time that cost of the project had blown out considerably from the original $900,000 estimate and that a planning permit would be required because an updated estimate costed construction costs at well over $1M, the threshold for a planning permit requirement. Total cost of the project is now estimated to be close to $10M.
Mr King is widely credited with getting the Rex project back on track and with guiding the Council through the arduous Local Government Inspectorate audit process.
The audit report of the Inspectorate about the Rex project is anticipated in early February.
Mr King was appointed CEO of Hepburn Shire in July, 2018. A Federation University Business graduate and an accountant by training, he has had considerable previous experience in local government. Mr King was the General Manager of Corporate Services for Hepburn Shire from 2010 to 2014 before joining Pyrenees Shire Council in a similar role. He has had considerable experience in industry and was the Business Manager for the Salvation Army.
Mr King is married and lives with his wife and three daughters in Ballarat. He is widely known in the Ballarat community and is a life member of the Ballarat Athletics Club.
In a media release, Mr King said “It is never easy to make the move to another organisation. However, accepting the CEO role at the City of Ballarat is an incredible opportunity for me and one that I am excited about.
“Hepburn Shire and the City of Ballarat not only share a border but an interest in a wide range of areas and I am excited that, through my next position, I can play a significant role in the future of the region.”
Mr King replaces former Ballarat CEO, Justine Linley, who was dismissed last May after a report by the Victorian Ombudsman found that she had made hiring decisions that were “unwise at best, and may have been improper”. Janet Dore has been interim CEO for the City of Ballarat since the dismissal of Ms Linley.