By Paul Hemsley
Outspoken Councillor Paul Bell has confirmed he will stand down from his position as president of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) ahead of the peak body’s annual general meeting.
His resignation draws to a close an eight-year run as the leader, a time that included controversial state government moves to merge councils to create efficiencies.
A statement from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said that Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell and Brisbane Councillor Margaret de Wit have nominated in the run off for the president's job.
The next LGAQ president will be announced at the next annual general meeting of the association in the last week of October where elections will take place by a secret ballot.
Mr Bell told Government News he intends to stay on the LGAQ board and continue as a councillor for Central Highlands Regional Council.
He described his term as a big personal commitment.
“I’m one of those people who likes to take on the work that needs to be done, to get the change in place and then move on and let others settle the changes through reform,” Mr Bell said.
Mr Bell said when he came into the position he was looking to reshape councils and to have a review on their shapes and sizes, which resulted in council some amalgamations this year.
“We undertook that very vigorously,” he said.
“Unfortunately it was hijacked in the middle of the process by the state, but the outcomes have been we [now] have 73 local government authorities throughout Queensland, [as] opposed to 154,” he said.
Mr Bell said local government has been in a “good place” since the Campbell Newman government had been elected.
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