Livingstone Shire Council CEO Chris Murdoch.
Livingstone Shire Council CEO Chris Murdoch.

Mystery surrounds Livingstone CEO’s extended leave

LIVINGSTONE Shire Council yesterday indicated it did not have a return to work date for its CEO who is currently on extended leave for a private reason.

Chris Murdoch last ­attended an ordinary council meeting on December 19 last year and the authority’s ­executive director liveability and wellbeing, Brett Bacon, has deputised for her at the January and February meetings.

When asked on Wednesday about Mrs Murdoch’s absence, the council said in a two-line statement: “The Chief Executive Officer is currently on extended leave for a private reason.

“No other information is available.” When further asked if the council was able to indicate when Mrs Murdoch was due to return, a council spokeswoman said: “There’s no information about a return date.”

The council would not say when Mrs Murdoch started leave from her role.

At a special confidential meeting on January 17, for which Mrs Murdoch was not present, the council discussed a confidential staffing matter in closed session. It is not known who that matter related to.

As closed session matters are closed to the public, no information about what was discussed at that meeting, nor the contents of the report, are available.

A summary of the ­“confidential reports - ­confidential staffing matter” contained in council ­documents says: “Mayor has requested a ­Special ­Confidential Meeting to ­discuss a confidential staffing matter with Councillors.”

“Acting Chief Executive ­Officer will provide a report at the meeting on 17 January 2020.”

Councillors who attended the special confidential ­meeting on January 17 were Mayor Bill Ludwig, Nigel ­Hutton, Adam Belot, Pat ­Eastwood, Jan Kelly, Glenda Mather and Tom Wyatt.

Officers in attendance were Brett Bacon (acting CEO), Dan Toon (executive director ­infrastructure) and Andrea Ellis (chief financial officer).

There were no “leave of absence/apologies” at that meeting. Attempts to contact Mrs Murdoch yesterday were unsuccessful.