By Kate Taylor
After eight years at the helm, Moorabool Shire Council CEO Rob Croxford has announced that he will retire before the end of the year.
Mr Croxford’s career in local government began with an administrative role 39 years ago, with him then progressing upwards while also diversifying his experience with many different councils including the City of Melbourne, Mordialloc, Nunawading, Mornington Peninsula and Murrindindi, where he was heavily involved in the Black Saturday recovery.
“During that time, I’ve seen big changes in the professionalism of local government. In most roles we now see tertiary qualified people who are experts in their fields, think strategically for the long term and focus on community development and asset stewardship. This is a far cry from the early days of react and budget on an annual basis,” Mr Croxford said.
Mr Croxford said there had been many challenges along his journey.
“Keeping the community on side has been a challenge. Our role is to balance outcomes for the greater good of the community. Everyone has an opinion and it is when you roll out a strategic plan for a reserve, streetscape work or impact on residential amenity that you certainly hear what they think.
“This is a good thing, but I have seen respect for local government decline in recent years.”
Mr Croxford said there have been many highlights over his eight years with the shire.
“I’m proud of what has been achieved by Council in the past eight years at Moorabool, including improving the financial sustainability of the organisation, managing risk and rolling out significant capital projects. Things such as Halletts Way and the advocacy for the freeway ramps are great to see and is testimony to a bold Council and excellent engineering staff.
“Our work to understand what our communities may look like in 2041 has also been a highlight. Whether that be in aged and disability services, land use planning, asset management or traffic engineering, the work completed in the last 5 years will hold us in good stead whilst other levels of government catch up with significant funding to provide great communities in which to live.”
Mr Croxford said that it was the great people that he got to work with in local government that kept him in the industry all those years, and also thanked the Councillors for their support, the general managers who run the organisation so well and his executive assistant Di for keeping things on track and resolving the many challenges that come through the office.
Mayor Paul Tatchell praised Mr Croxford for the work he had done over the past eight years.
“The Moorabool Shire has been extremely fortunate to have retained the services of Rob Croxford as CEO for the past eight years; Rob has guided the Shire through the perilous waters of local government with a steady hand on the tiller,” Cr Tatchell said.
“The strategic restructure of the Shire under Rob’s leadership can’t be understated; a large Shire with relatively small rate base, combined with unprecedented growth presents a number of challenges; Rob has achieved remarkable results with a calmness that defies the economic turbulence.
“The retirement of Rob from the helm presents a number of challenges, Rob is not only a loss to Moorabool, but a loss to local government in general,” Cr Tatchell said.
Due to finish up in October, Mr Croxford is now working with Councillors and council’s general managers to put a recruitment plan in place for his successor.